I found my learning style early enough. Lucky me, I like reading. It is interesting. I have two hobbies. The first is shopping for and reading books. Books by the way are the only things I like shopping for. The second is cars but that’s outside the scope of this discussion.
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You hear the phrase “readers are leaders”, or maybe the one you heard is “the best way to hide something from a black man is to put it inside a book”. Often, you see people haul books around, get engrossed in them, discuss them like it were a Premiership match or an episode from Game of Thrones. You stand perplexed and wonder what the fuss is about, though you, depending on your mood, have a love-hate relationship with books. They don’t look fun, the prints are small, words voluminous, pages unending and such weights.
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Feel no guilt. While not liking books can be excused, not seeking knowledge or learning cannot be. You aren’t alone in this. Six in ten persons share your preferences and can’t be bothered to pick up a book to admire much more read.
What I will do in this discussion is to help you get the information from books in a way that’s suited to your learning style. We are all wired differently and this shows up in how we learn among several other things. There is a learning acronym called VARK.
VARK – Visual Auditory Reading/Writing and Kinesthetic Patterns Of Learning.
Visual Learning Style
Visual people learn through visual aids. They learn from seeing other people do things. They learn from graphs, charts, videos, and other channels that make use of the eyes. Get the picture? (Smiling face).
Auditory Learning Style
The auditory group learns from hearing. They love instructions. You would often hear them say things like just tell me what you need done. You would rarely catch them drawing (cc visual learners) or jotting things down. They just like to listen. They fancy listening to the radio or hearing people talk. You may occasionally catch them “hearing” the TV with their backs to the screen.
Reading/Writing Learning Style
Reading/Writing people learn either through reading, writing, or a combination of both. Most good readers make good writers. They learn by jotting or many times scribbling on napkins or any nearby writable surface. These are the category of people you find hauling books around. They live, eat and breathe books.
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Kinesthetic Learning Style
Kinesthetic learners learn by doing, by watching others, by observing, and by modeling. It is usually the default learning style in kids before they take on their unique learning style.
So that’s a crash course in learning (expect my bill in your next mail). You can check teach.com to learn more about learning styles. How then do you glean the information packed in books based on your learning style?
Advice For Visual Learners
If you are a visual learner, video is your most optimized medium of learning and YouTube is your best resource. That’s the biggest visual library in the world and it is growing daily. More specifically, ted.com is a more streamlined platform to get information from. TED is an online resource that stands for technology, entertainment, and design, so if you are reading up anything in this area, TED would come in useful.
Let us assume you found a Malcolm Gladwell book with someone or overheard someone raving about it, simply go to www.ted.com and search for Malcolm Gladwell and listen to his talks. Writers usually talk in compressed formats, the overriding concepts of the ideas they put in books; only that they add updated information they would have got since making the book public. Chances are high that any writer worth reading in the non-fiction niche would have been featured on TED. So feel no guilt. Next time you see a book worth reading, simply search out the title or author on TED and watch them talk.
Advice For Auditory Learners
For the auditory learner, my advice is similar to the prescription I gave the visual learner; only that you have more options. Most books are available as audio versions. Audibles.com is a good place to start. It is an online marketplace for audiobooks. It is owned wholly by Amazon and they have 180,000+ book titles. Download it on your computer, your phone, and tablets and you are good to go. Some audiobooks are word for word transcription of the original book while some are summaries of concepts and knowledge presented in the original book. I favor the latter.
Advice For Reading And Writing Learners
For persons with reading and writing as learning styles, you are in your zones. You need no advice save to read a book on speed reading. With that, you can increase your reading speed by up to five times and double your comprehension rate. You should also learn to use a book’s table of content. I understand you love reading and can read cover to cover with no qualms, but you optimise your reading time when you dive into a book and get only the specifics of what you require.
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Advice For Kinesthetic Learners
For persons with kinesthetic learning styles, you, more than any of the other kinds of learners, require a mentor. The closer you are in proximity to your mentor, the better; the reason being that you learn by observation. Also, watch a lot of documentaries and talk shows in your areas of interest.
You would likely think to yourself that you exhibit more than one learning style; most of us do. But you would realize there is one dominant learning style and you should as often as you can use that learning style when learning new stuff or updating existing knowledge.
So next time you see someone holding a book, go do your research, learn in the ways that suit you, come back, and strike up a conversation about that book. Only be sure to tell the person you learned all you know without even opening a page of the book. That should make an impression.
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