Improve your studies by finding out your learning style here!
Getting good results seems to be the common aim amongst students. Yet, why is it that not everyone is excellent enough to achieve such results? Is it because the tips we find online are mediocre or that it doesn't cater to your individual needs?
According to the very famous Kolb’s learning cycle theory by psychologist David Kolb, a preferred learning style heavily impacts your problem-solving skills that’s essential when it comes to studying. This highlights that the same tip doesn’t and shouldn’t apply to everyone which is why we get mixed reviews from the population.
A proverb known by many explains that ‘everyone is kneaded from the same dough but not baked in the same oven.’ So, everyone might have the same goals and visions but external situations, background, financial status, mindset, and many more affect the result that we’re hell-bent on chasing.
Hence, this article brings a fresh perspective on such game-changing study tips because they recognise your needs in accordance with your preferred learning style such as the VARK model, studying with mental association, and tools to regain focus.
The acronym ‘VARK’ stands for Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic sensory modalities that are used for learning information. Researchers Flemming and Mills introduced four modalities to target individual learning styles to improve their learning capabilities. Nevertheless, it’s interesting that sometimes, you may not have any preferences, are unimodal, or have multiple modes of sensory preferences.
Firstly, the visual preference includes the presentation of information in singular graphics like maps, visually pleasing diagrams, charts, and many more, to convey information. This style focuses on creating a meaningful relationship between different parts to trigger an individual’s visual senses. Therefore, this style is perfect for those who are amazing at deriving connotations to maximise their learning capabilities.
The next one is aural learning where it targets sounds and music for information to be heard whether through group discussions, radio, podcasts, or any form of media that enhances hearing. This is because individuals of such require a human connection to draw out conclusions.
Thirdly, information can be displayed in words for individuals to read or rewrite. This is because graphics and the chaos of noise are seen as distractions. Therefore, this mode allows text-based input and output reading and writing in the form of manuals, reports, essays, and assignments. Interestingly, it remains the most common mode amongst students and teachers as seen in Malaysia’s education system which highlights the problem of not achieving good results because everyone is put in the same box.
The last one is kinesthetic sensory where it represents a perceptual preference related to the use of experience and practices irrespective of it being a stimulus or a real experience. On the contrary, it discovers that such experience may invoke other modalities, typically the aural one but it’s rather on the basis that it’s connected to reality. Ergo, this is best suited for those who need a concrete taste of reality when it comes to learning.
Nonetheless, it’s extremely rare for an individual to be unimodal since we’re complex beings ourselves that often require multiple modes of learning. In fact, it’s said that you may prefer different learning methods depending on the subject that you’re studying. To determine what model suits you the best, you can explore the VARK questionnaire and instantly increase your chances of achieving the common goal of getting good results.
Exploring the mode of sensory that suits an individual the best is insufficient as you also have to process perceived information in order for it to be stored efficiently and effectively. This area is known as the cognitive part as you learn to make that connection which’ll be reflected back when needed. Psychologist and Philosopher William James discovered that association is linked with memory which was first used by English philosopher John Locke in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). The famous theory of conditioning by Ivan Pavlov which was demonstrated by dogs proved that sensory plays a vital role in triggering memory.
“Your brain is a computer” is an infamous saying that recognises the similarity between computer data and the brain of a human being which is why it would be beneficial when students make mental associations to enhance memory power. For example, you can relate your knowledge on matters to various smells or even tastes.
Also, a common association is made with abbreviations to remember orders such as the color of the rainbow and the names of the planets. It’s amazing that we’ve been doing this unknowingly since forever but never really recognised the importance of it later in life.
Now that we’ve recognised our preferred learning style and ways to efficiently store emotions, it’s still not effective if we don’t maintain focus. Believe it or not, our biggest enemy is our own laziness that gets in the way of success. In a world that’s extraordinarily fast-paced, we’re prone to the tiniest distractions and our short attention span makes it even worse to maintain focus. However, there are a few focus tools that aid in regaining focus and avoid procrastination.
For example, the Pomodoro technique gained a lot of attention during the pandemic as students were forced to either study virtually with friends or on their own. Having no one to motivate you or tell you to take a break can often drain your energy but with the Pomodoro technique, which includes a timer, the system helps in setting a reminder for a quick rest for efficient studying.
Other apps such as the Forest app are beneficial to those with high emotional integrity as you can set a timer to block other apps from being browsed. A plant is planted to add guilt because if the timer is stopped, the plant instantly dies. How heartbreaking! Another idea circles around positive reinforcement. Smaller goals should be leading to bigger goals instead of leaping on them with no sense of direction. Hence, having mini goals would not only maintain your focus but can also increase self-confidence due to developing a sense of achievement.
So, when you’re unable to discipline yourself, let technology discipline you!
Everyone has their own way of studying to achieve success because we’re all different. Therefore, putting ourselves in individual boxes isn’t an ideal nor effective way as it undermines your true potential. While, it’s good to have an aim such as to achieve good results but it wouldn’t mean anything in the real world if you don’t even understand how you work best. This is why generally students see studying as a chore that is stressful even when it’s supposed to be a fun experience that could lead you to learning more about yourselves. In order to combat that, try seeing studying as a way to explore your capabilities that makes you unique. For that reason, these game-changing tips won’t only maximise learning techniques, but also improve you entirely.
So, try it out and good luck for your exams!
Dhruvee Mukesh Kumar is currently pursuing Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) at Taylor's University. She is also currently trying to build a side career in the entertainment industry such as commercials and content creation. In her spare time, she loves creating watercolor paintings which later on she sells on her art page.
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