Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Learning styles

Understanding your preferred learning style can impact the way you study. By adapting how you study to your preferred learning style you may achieve better retention and personal satisfaction with your studies:

  • Visual learners learn by seeing lectures, presentations and examples. They want to see the instructor’s facial expressions and body language. If you are a visual learner you might choose to sit toward the front of the room to ensure an unobstructed view of the instructor and any visual tools (black or white board; overhead projection screen, models) being used.
  • Auditory learners learn best by listening and talking through the information. They listen for the tone and pitch of the speaker to determine the important information in a lecture. If you are an auditory learner you may want to try reading your text out loud or into a recording device so you can listen to the information. You may also want to find a study partner you can discuss lectures and readings with or drill with using flash cards.
  • Tactile or kinesthetic learners learn best by getting “hands-on” with the material. They want to take models apart and put them back together to see how things fit or participate in over-the-shoulder training, where they are the “drivers” and the instructor is the “navigator”. If you are a tactile or kinesthetic learner you might learn best in lab situations where you get to experiment, see your subjects in their natural settings or practice on simulators. You might also find you have a hard time sitting through a lecture for four hours, so you may want to find a seat in the room that would enable you to stand or stretch from time to time without interfering with the learning of others.

Remember that we are all capable of learning through these various styles, but you may prefer one or more styles over others. The more senses you involve in learning the more likely you will be to remember the information.

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