Many people come to university and realise that the way they used to learn new information in school just does not seem to be efficient at university. It can be a difficult transition and it can seem like you’re starting from square one again. However, knowing the different types of learner you may be can help you be more effective in your studying!
Read below to discover the different type (or types!) of learner you could be and try out some of the tips to know for sure!
The Visual Learner
Visual learners learn and process information by seeing the information. They tend to prefer to read and write information. These types of learner learn most effectively by presenting their information and notes in a way that is visually appealing and is presented in a way that can be processed more easily. For example, this includes making handwritten notes during lectures, writing summaries and outlines of module content and creating graphs, brainstorms and diagrams to digest information.
Top tip if you’re a visual learner: The next time you’re in a lecture, try making your own personal notes during the lecture. After the lecture, summarise your notes and try to fit this information into one side of A4. This way, you are able to visually summarise the key points of the lecture content. Closer to exams, try to do brainstorms and diagrams to synthesise this information and create a narrative for the content.
The Auditory Learner
Auditory learners are in a way opposite to visual learners, they learn and process information best when they listen to it. For example, an auditory learner might learn best in a lecture by listening to the academic delivering the lecture, rather than just reading the material beforehand. They may find it difficult to process written information, especially if they find it illogical to follow.
Top tip to see if you’re an auditory learner: Instead of focusing on making notes during lectures, try solely focusing on listening to what the lecturer is presenting and see if this helps you synthesise the information more effectively. For revision purposes, try recording voice notes of yourself reading out your notes, and listen back to them during exam season.
The Tactile Learner
The tactile learner, also known as the kinaesthetic learner, learns best by carrying out physical activity to process information. The importance for these learners relies on the sense of touch and using your body in order to learn. Tactile learners like touching, moving and building to learn and many struggle to stay still when learning.
Top tip if you’re a tactile learner: If you’re struggling to just read your notes and assimilate information, try using a combination of visual learning and auditory learning along with body movements. For examples, try recording voice notes of your lecture material and listen to them when you go for a walk or for a run. Or, try writing your notes out on a large whiteboard, which will allow you to move around the space.
The Verbal Learner
Verbal learners take in information best when they verbally repeat information out loud. This can include creating acronyms and rhymes to remember information or reading information out loud.
Top tip if you’re a verbal learner: When you’re next revising in your room, try reciting the information back to yourself and see if this helps you remember the information better. You might even find it better to pace around your room while doing this!
The Social Learner
Social learners study and learn best in group settings or with other people. This method of learning works especially for those that enjoy group activities, such as sports and societies or generally enjoy groupwork aspects of their degree.
Top tip if you’re a social learner: The first tip would be to make sure that you work with people that will not distract you or that you will spend too much time purely socialising with. Before your group study sessions, decide beforehand what you will work on as a group e.g. which lecture will you cover? Will everyone be doing a different lecture, or will you all be covering the same material? It might be worth spreading the material out between the group members and then making each member teach the material they have covered to the rest of the group. Not only will this reinforce what you have learned yourself and see where your gaps are, but you might also learn something new from your peers! Another handy tip is to make a shared document for your notes, e.g. a Google doc, where you can all edit and add your own findings. When it gets to exam season, you will now have a handy file that will contain all the necessary information needed for the exam!
I hope these tips help you discover the type of learner you are. University is the perfect time to try different methods out and see what makes you the most effective when you do your work. This is not a rigid list, and you might find that more than one method works for you. You might be a mix of a verbal and social learner, or maybe there’s another type of learner that you’ve discovered you are. Learning is meant to be dynamic and individual to you, so get exploring and see what works best for YOU!