Discovering Your Learning Style: The Key to Effective Learning

BLOG HEADER Discovering Your Learning Style The Key to Effective Learning

Your learning style is more than a mere educational concept.

It’s a powerful tool that can significantly enhance your ability to acquire new skills and knowledge. Which we both know is more than essential in today’s changing world of work.

Understanding your learning style can transform your learning journey. That’s why I want to share some of my discoveries as an avid lifelong learner.

The importance of self-awareness in discovering your learning style

Self-awareness is the foundation of effective learning.

Understanding how you process and retain information empowers you to choose the most effective strategies.

For instance, if you’re a visual learner, incorporating visual aids can vastly improve your understanding and retention of information.

Conversely, if you’re an auditory learner, you might find that listening to lectures or engaging in discussions enhances your learning experience.

I’m very much a visual learner. I like to take notes, use colours and doodle little images, icons and connecting lines to help me learn and memorise.

A picture of a big pile of my notebooks showcasing my learning style of taking notes.

If you are one of my students, you have seen my course or coaching content with a high focus on the visual experience.

But at the same time, I’m not forgetting about those students of mine who prefer audio. I make sure I explain the content beyond reading what you can read from the slides to support your learning experience.

Customising the learning experience

The beauty of understanding your learning style lies in tailoring your learning experience.

This customisation ensures that your study techniques align perfectly with how you best absorb information, making the process more enjoyable and less frustrating.

When I study listening to audiobooks, I like to pin some of the content on the app to return to it to make notes.

If the audio version turns out to be a really good source, I buy the book. Returning to a book and revising only some of the content is easier than with the audio version. This helps me to make the most of and adapt sources for learning to my preferred learning style.

Improving my understanding and memory to support my learning style

Aligning study methods with my learning style helps me memorise and deepens my understanding of the subject. This deeper comprehension is essential for mastering new subjects and skills.

I need this often with our clients, ideating, creating and copywriting subject-matter content for them. Lately, I’ve been learning about the transition to green energy for one of our clients. I find it really fascinating!

If you have been following me long, you know my nerdy passion for the human brain and behaviour. Studying is known to be more effective when it aligns with how your brain naturally likes to receive information. This alignment makes recalling what you’ve learned easier, even after considerable time. By the way, storytelling – as in sharing information in a story format is the most powerful way to glue information in the minds of your audience.

My key message here is to recognise your ideal learning style so that you can match your study method with your learning style and help your brain process information more efficiently.

Increasing engagement and motivation to learn

When learning aligns with your preferred style, it also becomes more engaging and enjoyable.

An increased motivation can lead to a more consistent and dedicated approach to your studies and professional development.

I’m big on systems. That’s why I recommend creating your own learning system to make it easier and more motivating for you to keep your knowledge up to date in the changing world.

Susanna Rantanen on her learning style taking notes and using colour pens

Mastering efficiency and time management

One great thing about knowing your learning style is more efficient study habits. Especially for those of you who, like me, are busy at work and home, raising a family and trying to find time to take care of yourself too!

When I discovered that taking notes is vital for effective learning, I also realised this learning style is very time-consuming. I’ve learned to cherry-pick sessions, episodes and chapters, focusing on what is at the top of my mind.

I also know I need peace when I study. Early mornings are one of my favourite times to study when my family still sleeps. I also combine the audio experience with solo walks and take the occasional notes on my phone while I walk.

The power of adaptability

In a rapidly changing professional world, adaptability is key.

Knowing your primary learning style gives you a clear understanding of how you learn best. This self-knowledge is the first step in becoming more adaptable. When you know what works for you, you can more easily recognize and adjust to situations where your preferred methods are not feasible.

While knowing your preferred learning style makes it easier for you to learn, it also makes you more flexible when it comes to learning.

For example, suppose you’re a visual learner but find yourself in a situation where you have to rely on auditory learning (like in a lecture or a meeting).

Visualising the information in your notebook allows you to return to your notes later. For me, this also helps me focus on listening. Otherwise, my mind quickly starts wandering, and I find myself not having a clue of what’s going on!

Collaborative learning

Have you tried collaborative learning?

My best friends and I have tried this together on specific topics, and those conversations are precious as they bring together our perspectives and experiences.

Pick a topic relevant to your group, have someone introduce it, and let the conversation flow! It doesn’t have to be more prepped than this, and it doesn’t have to be at work with your colleagues! Use your professional network!

Life-long learning and adaptive expertise

What excites me most about my lifelong learner attitude is the depth of knowledge and expertise in employer branding, marketing and communication that I adapt regularly to solve novel problems and perspectives.

Not only have I worked in this area since 2002, but I have worked on these skills and knowledge from an in-house angle and as a consultant for over 200 organisations and in what must now be at least four digits worth of different circumstances, cases, projects and perspectives.

When you deeply understand a subject, you develop what educators call “adaptive expertise.”

This means you’re knowledgeable in your field but also flexible and innovative in applying that knowledge, adapting to new situations, and solving novel problems.

I continue to surprise myself with how much knowledge I have under my belt. And I thank my lifelong learner’s mindset and having discovered what kind of learning style motivates me the most.

Aligning your study methods with your learning style isn’t just about making learning easier; it’s about making it more effective.

This enhances both your ability to memorise information and understand it profoundly. The dual benefit is crucial for truly mastering new subjects and skills, enabling you to apply your knowledge in varied and complex situations, both in academic and real-world settings.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Do you know your learning style, and can you take advantage of it to make your learning more effective, efficient and inspiring?

Comment below!


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