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How to maximise your learning style for online study

There’s no right or wrong way to learn, but once you figure out your online learning style you can use it to your advantage to help you achieve even greater results.

By TAFE Queensland

Everyone learns differently. Some of us need to write things down, some need to hear instructions out loud, and some of us can’t figure something out until we’ve had a chance to actually do it with our own hands.

Just because you're studying online doesn't mean you have to study a certain way. There’s no right or wrong way to learn but once you figure out your online learning style you can use it to your advantage to help you achieve even greater results.

Visual learner

You're all about reading and seeing. You process information best by picturing what you’re learning in your head and by looking at text, pictures and diagrams. When you're trying to remember something there’s a good chance you close your eyes and visualise it.

You’re probably easily distracted by loud noises and if you don’t have something to look at, you become bored. You must have loved those days at school when the teacher wheeled the TV into the classroom.

Being a visual learner probably seems ideal for online study, but don't stress if this isn't you. Every learning style has their advantages.

How to nail your online study:

  • sit at clean desk or work area so you're less likely to be distracted by clutter
  • make your own study flashcards
  • print out and colour code different sets of information
  • try to visualise your resources or notes when not looking at them, it will help you recall the details
  • email your teacher with questions if you're struggling, and read their responses thoroughly

Auditory learner

You learn best by hearing and listening. You store information by the way it sounds and you follow instruction better if you hear them rather than read them. You take information in best if you read it aloud to yourself or have other people read it to you.

You are great at processing information that you hear, even in a noisy room. When you hear songs you know you sing or hum along and you probably learnt all the lyrics before all your friends.

If you're an auditory learner you may be feeling a bit nervous about studying online right about now. But don't worry, there's plenty of things you can do to make online study work for you.

Hit the right notes when studying online:

  • listen to any audio/video files or recorded lectures provided and play them back when you’re studying
  • read your resources and notes out loud or put them to a melody and sing them to yourself
  • rope in your crew and have a family member or friend ask you questions out loud or explain what you're learning to them
  • get into online discussion boards and get to know your fellow students, otherwise you'll never know if quizmaster94 lives down the road and is open to group study dates
  • ask your teacher to call you if you find yourself struggling

Tactile (or kinaesthetic) learner

You learn by touching and doing. You find it frustrating sitting in a classroom, listening to someone explain concepts, or having to write extensive notes. The best way for you to learn something is to just start doing it, and practising until you have it down pat.

You need to be active, take frequent breaks, and it’s important that you know not just how something works, but why. When you drive, you remember the route but possibly not the street names and landmarks. And you probably got in trouble for dismantling toasters when you were a kid. You just wanted to know how it worked, right?

Being a tactile learner probably doesn't seems ideal for online study, but don't stress if this is you. Every learning style has its advantages, you've just got to make online study work for you.

How tactiles get tactile online:

  • do all of the activities provided, even if they're optional
  • participate in any interactive tasks or projects available
  • move around while you study or act out different concepts
  • learn new material while doing something active, like reading a textbook on the treadmill or dancing while reciting facts
  • just jump in and give something a go or try applying it to a real-world situation, you’ll figure it out a lot quicker than by just reading notes

Most people are a combination of learning styles, but one usually resonates more than the others. Figure out your learning style to help you nail your online study.