By Elizabeth Sumner
WGU Student Success Specialist
This post was updated in October, 2017.
How human beings learn is an extremely complex process. From taking in the information, to processing, to retention, each step is impactful to your learning. Because of this, it is important that we be very intentional with the way we channel information to our brains. We don’t always think about why and how our brains work, but to be successful as a college student, it’s something you need to consider. This is particularly important for students studying at an online university, because your learning style is needed daily as you learn, study, and test more independently. Being aware of how you study and how that information is understood and retained is vital to your learning. Experts have identified different types of learning styles to help you understand the best strategy for comprehending and retaining information.
Start to discover your learning style by asking yourself a few questions:
- Do I know what my learning style is?
- How have I studied in the past?
- How am I currently studying?
- What kinds of tests have I performed the best on, and how did I study for them?
- Do I take a lot of notes in class?
- Do I quiz myself to remember information, draw pictures, or something else?
After this reflection, take the Learning Style Quiz to learn what your learning style is, and what strategies you will need to implement to be successful as a student, whether you’re a traditional student or an online student. This will allow you to incorporate better practices to maximize your retention and recall abilities.
Once you have completed the learning style assessment, we want to encourage you to visit the WGU Student Success Center to schedule an appointment with a WGU Student Success Specialist, or if you don’t attend WGU, to identify your university’s student success center and advisors. These experts will discuss your natural learning skills and to build on other areas to maximize your processing and retention abilities. In the WGU Student Success Center, you can also access more resources to help you learn more about your learning style.
Here are three things you can incorporate to find success at your online or traditional university, depending on your learning style:
- Process the information out-loud. This involves asking questions and answering them using your voice. The more you discuss the information out loud, the better.
- Speak outloud and "teach" your roommates, friends, family, or yourself the material to better help you remember and comprehend it.
- Use verbal analogies and tell stories to help you reach your point.
- WGU students can find and schedule a meeting with their Program Mentor to learn how best to discuss information with teachers and advisors.
- Include drawings and pictures in your notes to illustrate ideas and use COLOR!
- Read the text and then convert the information into pictures, notes, diagrams, or mind maps. Learn more about mind maps on YouTube (videos are a great learning tool for visual learners, too!).
- Study in a quiet place away from distractions. Learn more about creating a great study environment.
- Take breaks and move around during your breaks.
- Act things out, use gestures, or move around while studying, all of which helps to engage the kinesthetic or tactile learner.
- Use models, charts, or diagrams to show relationships.
- View our WGU learning resources and identify the best tools that will help you to be successful.
These simple tips could help you as you study and provide ways for you to be a more successful student. Understanding how your brain works is the first key to unlocking your full potential. What is your learning style, and what other strategies do you implement to be successful?