How do you best absorb, process and retain information? Are you a visual, auditory (listening) or kinaesthetic (doing) learner?

When you know your preferred learning style(s) you will understand the type of learning that works best for you and your tutor will also plan your lessons accordingly.

If you have a visual learning style, you will prefer learning and understanding by seeing things, including diagrams, displays, handouts, mindmaps, etc. You will use phrases such as “show me”, “let’s have a look at that” and will be best able to perform a new task after reading the instructions or watching someone else do it first. You will work from lists and written directions and instructions.

Try using some of the following:

  • Underlining
  • Use different colours / highlighters, symbols, flow charts, charts, graphs pictures, videos, posters, slides
  • White space textbooks with diagrams, pictures
  • Reconstruct your notes in different ways using the above ideas
  • Redraw your pages from memory
  • Replace words with symbols or initials
  • Write out key information
  • Look at your pages
  • Use post-its round the house and stick posters of notes up for you to see
  • Practise turning your visuals back into words

If you have an auditory learning style, you will prefer learning and understanding through listening to the spoken word or sounds. You will use phrases such as “tell me”, “let’s talk it over” and will be best able to perform a new task after listening to instructions. You are happy being given spoken instructions and can remember all the words to songs you hear! Written words are not as valuable as those you hear.

Try using some of the following:

  • Discuss topics with other students or your tutor
  • Explain new ideas to other people
  • Record yourself reading your summarized notes and listen to them
  • Read your summarized notes or new language aloud
  • Use Mnemonic devices (eg All Cows Eat Grass to remember ACEG on a musical stave)
  • Listen to the radio, music, podcasts in the language
  • Spend time in quiet places recalling the ideas
  • Speak your answers

If you have a kinaesthetic learning style you will prefer physical experiences – touching, holding, doing, practical hands-on experiences. You will use phrases such as “Let me try” and will be best able to perform a new task by going ahead and trying it out, learning as you go. You like to experiment, hands-on, and never look at the instructions first!

If you have a strong preference for kinaesthetic learning, try using some of the following:

  • All your senses - sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing
  • If possible, spend time in-country, or if not watch films, TV, YouTube in the language
  • Find a ‘learning buddy’ online or go to ‘MeetUps’ for your language
  • Construct jumbled up sentences with words on card
  • Role play standing up and moving around
  • Real life examples using authentic materials
  • Use pictures in your notes to illustrate an idea
  • Recall examples when you used the language