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Learning Styles And ConquerMaths.com - What's Yours?
23rd July 2017
It is now generally accepted that different people learn best in different ways. The ConquerMaths.com lessons are designed to be multi-sensory, accounting for different learning styles and accommodating different types of learners.
Many people have heard about the basic difference between visual and auditory learners, but may not know how to identify which learning style suits them best. Parents of younger students need to keep their eyes and ears open to figure out what works best for their children when it comes to learning, says Mel Levine. Levine, co-founder of 'All Kinds Of Minds' a non-profit institute for the study of learning differences explains, "The best thing that a parent can do is step back and observe what seems to be happening and what seems to be working with their child."
Older students can diagnose their own learning style by thinking about what has worked best in the past; this can be particularly helpful for planning revision. There are also a large number of effective questionnaires available online that can help you identify your learning style. We recommend Brain Box.
There have been many different models of learning styles proposed but the most widely accepted is Neil Fleming’s VAK or VARK model. This divides students into three distinct styles of learning; visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Bear in mind that most people have a primary, and a secondary preferred learning style, so someone might be primarily a visual learner, but also respond quite well to kinaesthetic learning as well.
Are you a Visual Learner?
Visual learners are often known as daydreamers, as they often vividly visualise things in their mind. They tend to be good at visualising 3-D objects, and have a heightened awareness of colour.
They often like doing visual puzzles such as jigsaws and mazes. They have a good sense of spatial awareness, and tend to enjoy expressing thoughts and emotions through any kind of art and drawing. They retain information from images, films and cartoons better than from books or music.
What This Means For Learning:
Visual learners will prefer to use images, colours, diagrams and animation to organize information and understand ideas. They learn well watching demonstrations, video clips, and number lines, but may become impatient with purely verbal explanations.
Diagrams and animations work particularly well for visual learners, so the ConquerMaths.com lessons are ideal as every lesson is animated with colourful diagrams, charts, graphs and number lines, and displays each step visually.
Students can supplement their ConquerMaths.com and classroom lessons by creating their own visual study aids, using colour, images, diagrams, charts etc. When they make notes in class, they should write in a variety of colours and add pictures and diagrams to aid retention.
Are you an Auditory Learner?
Auditory learners like to listen and communicate concepts and emotions to others verbally. They tend to learn the written word phonetically, so can be good readers but many prefer the spoken word to the point where written information cannot fully be understood until it is heard. Auditory learners tend to read aloud, or sub-vocalize (read aloud under their breath). They often have a good ear and memory for music and rhythm, and can (usually!) follow verbal instructions well.
What This Means For Learning:
Auditory learners learn best when given verbal information and instruction. Hearing verbal explanation at a measured pace ensures understanding and hearing information repeated helps retain information. The ConquerMaths.com lessons work very well for auditory learners since they are narrated throughout by the teacher who explains what he is doing step by step. Additionally the pause and rewind functions mean students can repeat the verbal explanations as often as they like.
They may benefit from recording school classes, or putting information to music. Some need to have music on in the background when studying, while others are sensitive to sound and need silence.
Are you a Kinaesthetic Learner?
Kinaesthetic Learners are in the minority, with only 15% of students likely to fall into this category. They learn best by trying, doing, and touching, and often process knowledge physically. They are often highly active and struggle to sit still for long. They communicate with body language and expressive gestures as well as speech, and will show you rather than tell you. They like to get their hands dirty, and when learning something new prefer to jump in and try it right away.
What This Means For Learning:
Kinaesthetic learners learn best when they are able to move, therefore exercise before and after study periods is best. They need to fidget so having something to play with in their hands helps them to focus. They need short sessions of learning and frequent breaks, so the ConquerMaths.com bite-size five minute tutorials are perfect as they are short enough to hold the attention whilst imparting a lot of information.
Alas, due to the limitations of the computer screen, the ConquerMaths.com lessons cannot provide much direct physical stimulation, however after every lesson there is an opportunity to jump in and immediately practise the skills just demonstrated which kinaesthetic learners need to do to hold their interest.
The physical printable worksheets are best for this. Some students adapt in school to learn visually and aurally, but others, especially younger students, may need to supplement their ConquerMaths.com learning with tactile and physical examples, in similar ways to those we suggested to help toddlers in ‘Your Baby the Mathematician’.
To accompany their ConquerMaths.com lessons try to represent concepts such as number, measurement, geometry, angles and fractions physically. Incorporating the use of items such as rulers, measuring cups and spoons, clocks, different shapes and angles found in the natural world, counters, tiles or an abacus will help ensure a more comprehensive understanding.
Kinaesthetic learners will particularly appreciate the fast-paced Speed Skills game on the ConquerMaths.com website!
Identifying their learning styles can be really beneficial to all types of learners by helping them to understand what methods work best for them and making all subject matter seem approachable. ConquerMaths.com lessons are designed to approachable and accessible to everyone, no matter what their learning style, and we hope this article helps our students think more about how they learn, and discover the best style of learning for them.