As a student at UMaine it is important to take personal responsibility for learning the information and skills necessary to achieve your goals. However, some students experience frustration when instructors do not teach to their preferred method of learning. Most of the time students are not aware that they even have a preferred learning style. They might think the class is just boring, the instructor is bad, or that they just are not able to grasp the information. This in turn can affect attendance, performance, and grades. It is important to keep in mind that not everyone learns information the same way. Each of us has our own way of processing information and our own preferred way of creating meaning out of that information. Knowing how YOU prefer to learn will give you a greater advantage in college.
Take the following self-assessment and see if you are an A, B,C, or D.
This self-assessment can help you begin to understand the way in which you learn best. The scores indicate the order of preferences for four different learning approaches: A.THINKING, B. DOING, C. FEELING, and D. INNOVATING. The scores can help you understand what questions motivate you and how you prefer to gather information. Traditional college lectures typically appeal to the Thinkers and to some extent the Doers. The Feelers and Innovators may have a more difficult time with this type of class structure. Feelers like to relate the information to their own experiences and Innovators like to ask challenging questions. There are four motivating questions that correlate with the learning styles. Thinking learners ask “What” questions- What theory supports that claim? What facts do you have? Doing learners ask “How” questions- How does this work? How do experts do this? Feeling learners ask “Why” or “Who” questions- Why do I need to know this? Who here cares about me? Innovating learners ask “What if” or “What else” questions- What if I tried this another way? What else could I do with this?
Effective learners will realize that not all instructors will teach to their preferred style and that they must take responsibility for what they learn and how they learn. Understanding your preferred way of learning can help with creating and maintaining an effective strategy to deal with subjects and teaching styles that they find difficult. Once you know how you prefer to learn you can use methods to make even the most challenging classes more exciting. For example if you are an A and your professor doesn’t teach to your style you can construct important “What” questions outside of class and do your own research. If you are a B you might find someone who uses the subject information and skills in their work and job shadow or ask questions. If you are a C you might try to discover the value of the subject for you personally and try to make connections to your life, and finally if you are a D you could think about the course content creatively and explore how you could adapt it. These categories are not fixed and many of us fall into more than one or two. Your goal here is to find the processing strategies that are conducive your education and help to promote lifelong learning.