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.
Most students will need help finding their learning style, and then getting additional help in areas where they aren’t as strong. The right online university will have resources that help students improve on the areas where they don’t naturally excel.
At WGU, over 90% of enrolled students will end up utilizing resources to help them in areas of study that don’t come naturally to them. This means that virtually every student at one time or another will need help to succeed.
Reaching out for help is a great way to achieve success, and should be a go-to option when you are struggling as a student. Many students even find that reaching out for help before they desperately need it will help them be prepared for future courses and needs.
Additionally, 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.
It’s important to recognize that everyone has unique learning styles, and abilities. That means that everyone will be strong in some areas, and weaker in others. This doesn’t mean you can’t excel or do well in those areas, it simply means you may need additional help.
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.
Whatever your learning style is, there are ways you can strengthen the areas that don’t come as naturally to you. Every student should take advantage of resources and strengthen the other learning styles, helping them be successful in any class.
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.
WGU students who are auditory learners can schedule a meeting with their Program Mentor to learn how best to discuss information with teachers and advisors. This will help them utilize their auditory learning style to their advantage.
If auditory learning isn’t your strength, that’s OK! WGU has the Confidence Corner which is just one of many resources that can help students understand how to listen and speak better.
- 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.
If visual learning isn’t your top strength, don’t worry. From study skills to specific help with writing or math, you can find ways to get academic help with the areas of your education that come less naturally to you.
- 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.
View our WGU learning resources and identify the best tools that will help you to be successful. Learning communities, help with test anxiety, and working with your Program Mentor are just a few ways that you can enhance your tactile learning style.
The reality is that every student that comes to WGU has a unique set of skills and strengths. But very rarely do students have multiple learning styles and abilities. This means that every student will need to take advantage of the resources available to help them succeed.
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.