Ironically, one of the most important skills that you will develop over the course of your high school career is the ability to learn effectively and efficiently. At the same time that you’re learning facts, figures and content in your classes, you should also be paying attention to the learning methods which best suit you and help you retain information for future call back.
While course material is delivered in the same method for all students in a class (generally a mix of lecture, exercises and out-of-class reading assignments), how each student absorbs information may vary dramatically. Learning which learning style gives you the best results can help you not only in high school but throughout your college years.
The Visual Learner
Visual learners do best when they can see material being presented. If you’ve ever found that reading a book with long paragraphs of text causes your attention to wander, while text books with clear illustrations, diagrams or charts immediately help you understand concepts, you may be a strong visual learner.
Visual learners may also find that they do best in lecture settings where they can watch their professors, being able to relate the material being discussed with the body language and facial expressions being used. During individual study, they often “see” their teacher’s delivering the content again in their minds.
For best results, visual learners should sit at the front of a lecture hall, rather than the back, in order to avoid visual distractions. They also benefit from detailed note taking including diagrams, or using mind-map style note taking during both lectures and individual study.
The Auditory Learner
Auditory learners find it easy to process and recall material delivered via lectures, and may learn best by engaging in conversation about a subject. Auditory learners often do well in study groups or discussions, but find that individually they struggle to recall diagrams or charts, or read a great deal of text without having hearing a lecture on the subject first.
Auditory learners may study best if they can record lectures for future playback. They frequently take fewer notes than visual learners because they can easily recall subjects that have been discussed. Additionally, audio books (books recorded on CD or downloaded as audio files) can be an invaluable tool to get through long-form content like novels.
The Kinesthetic Learner
Kinesthetic learners find that they learn material best when they can engage with the subject matter in a hands-on way, or are able to take some action while they’re learning. Kinesthetic learners may struggle to be a passive audience during a lecture, but find that they easily absorb information in lab settings or when they’re able to move around the classroom.
Unfortunately for kinesthetic learners, the lecture hall can be a very difficult environment to learn in. Kinesthetic learners may need to use a variety of creative methods to absorb information, such as recording lectures for playback while engaged in a physical activity like walking, reading out loud and acting out content from books, or doing hands-on experiments to understand concepts in science and math.