It seems that every single person starts their first day of university with a variety of emotions – excitement beyond belief with a small feeling of nervousness, and usually confidence in themselves as a learner. As university students, we generally found the workload in high school to be bearable and often fairly easy. We all share a sense of eagerness to learn, that is pretty much a given. However, here lies a bigger question: how do we learn? This question is not as simple as it sounds. We all know how complicated this truly is because we have all had experiences with it. It could be that you have always struggled with multiple choice tests and you are now in a class in which these style of tests dominate the entirety of your grade. Maybe you love to learn in the comfort of your individual thoughts, but one of the classes you are in this semester is all about group projects and collaboration. I’m not saying you will always be a lecture that is set up exactly the way you want it to be, but there is a way to tailor the university learning experience into something a bit less daunting.
That is where learning styles come in! On their website, The Global Digital Citizen Foundation breaks down different types of learners into seven categories. The first is the visual learner. Although you may think that this means scrolling through memes during class, it most definitely does not. Visual learners learn best when they create class notes with symbols, boxes, charts and colours and are able to read or look at pictures in order to learn material (Global Digital Citizen). The second type is a verbal learner and they tend to learn best when they recite new information out loud or highlighting key points in handwritten notes (Global Digital Citizen). Aural learners love sound and music because they are able to develop understanding and memory through these auditory experiences (Global Digital Citizen). Physical learners “learn by doing, touching, moving, building and are described as a ‘hands-on” (Global Digital Citizen). Logical learners are often characterized by the fact that “they are natural thinkers who learn by classifying, categorizing and thinking abstractly about patterns & relationships” (Global Digital Citizen). The last two types of learners are not so much about learning techniques, but instead the environment in which we learn. Although you may love to study with friends (I mean actually study), it doesn’t mean everyone else does too. If you love to learn in groups, you are likely a social learner. Social learners usually tend to prefer social activities than doing individual activities, and may often like to engage in group sports (Global Digital Citizen). Solitary learners are usually more independent and enjoy their own company. You may be a solitary learner “if you enjoy spending time on your alone, keeping a journal and engaging in self-analysis to gain a deeper understanding of yourself” (Global Digital Citizen).
With all these different learning styles in mind, there are certain careers that may have attractive qualities for who you are a learner. For example, if you learn best through verbal techniques, you may have a career in journalism right around the corner. Another important thought is that you likely won’t fall into just one category. We are all individuals and we each will have a learning style completely unique to us, so at the end of the day, just play to your strengths as a learner. If you’re just starting university or even if you already feel like a seasoned veteran, it may be worth it to explore your learning style and how that may affect your university learning experience.