Explore Learning Approaches

Each person’s brain is unique and has a preferred way of processing information. We often refer to these as learning approaches or learning preferences. However, the key to becoming a more effective learner is to continually monitor how we learn and study, in order to make necessary adjustments. Choose the most effective approach (or combination of approach) for achieving the task at hand. 

Visual Approaches

(pictures, charts, diagrams, graphs, etc.)

  • In class: underline important points; highlight with different colors; use symbols, charts, graphs
  • While studying: underline notes and text; highlight notes and text; summarize with images and concept maps
  • During exams: recall pictures; draw concept map of essay; dump formulas/diagrams

Aural (or Auditory) Approaches

(audible content, recorded lectures, etc.)

  • In class: attend lectures; discussion and tutorials; tape lecture for later
  • While studying: discuss material in study group; summarize notes, then read aloud; read onto recorder, then listen
  • During exams: listen to your inner voice to recall information; talk out the question under your breath

Reading/Writing Approaches

(reading or writing about information)

  • In class: create lists and headings; take complete lecture notes
  • While studying: ID key words; reread notes and summarize; reread and summarize old tests; answer review questions
  • During exams: use key words to trigger complete answers; at the beginning of the exam, write out important lists; for essays write thesis then outline; use information matrix to help organize

Kinesthetic Approaches

(moving, touching or hands-on activities to learn information)

  • In class: use all senses in class; participate in labs and field trips;
  • While studying: create personal examples; use pictures to illustrate notes; stand, move, walk; study in an exam-like environment
  • During exams: remember examples; stretch or move to jog memory