Most people want to know how they best learn new information and find out how to succeed in their courses. This statement also applies to me. I have long wondered how to tailor course content to the way that I learn to get the most out of my university experience. One belief that I and many other people have had taught to us from a young age is that there are four distinct learning styles that dictate how we learn: visual, auditory, read/write and kinesthetic. However, it turns out that this belief is flawed. Having an extremely concrete or fixed view of our learning styles may hinder learning rather than help it; we may not try out a certain learning technique or even a particular course because we do not think it will pair well with our learning style (Shaffer, 2020). Studies also show that changing study habits to suit a person’s learning style does not lead to higher marks (Khazan, 2018).
“One belief that I and many other people have had taught to us from a young age is that there are four distinct learning styles that dictate how we learn: visual, auditory, read/write and kinesthetic. However, it turns out that this belief is flawed.”
To help counteract these false beliefs, the Chapman Learning Commons developed a quiz called the Approach to Learning: Self-Assessment so that students can gain some insight into how they learn without being prescribed a specific learning style. This quiz was made to help students explore and reflect on their learning preferences and, in this blog post, I will be telling you about my experience taking the quiz for the first time.
Going into the quiz, I already knew a little bit about how I like to learn course material and take notes, but I tried to throw away any preconceptions about my learning style. A few things that I knew to be true about my approach to learning: I am very timid when it comes to asking questions in class or speaking to the professor, I have never liked group project work, and it usually takes me a while to adapt to new technologies. My main interest in doing the quiz was seeing how these preferences would be reflected in my quiz answers and finding out what new tips I would get to help me succeed in my courses. So, now that I have completed the Approach to Learning quiz, I want to share with you the three major discoveries that I had during the process.
Discovery One: New insight into my approach to learning
Firstly, what I found as I went through the self-assessment was that my approach to learning has changed quite a bit since classes have moved online. Doing this quiz allowed me some time to self-reflect on how my learning preferences have shifted during this school year, and I discovered that the way I approach brainstorming and deal with academic problems has shifted. For example, ever since we moved to online courses, I found myself making more detailed plans for written projects than when I attended courses in person. I believe that this insight that I gained from the quiz will be incredibly useful as I work on new projects in the future. I also find it helpful that I now know how I have adapted to new learning conditions and that the quiz gave me some tips to help me going forward.
Discovery Two: Chapman Learning Commons toolkits and resources
I was very surprised that, through completing this quiz, I was able to discover resources on the Chapman Learning Commons website that I did not know about before. This quiz acts as a great resource in itself and is full of information about learning preferences, however, it also acts as a great hub to find and access useful online learning resources. By checking off my preferred learning approaches, I was able to discover resources containing tips about how to write notes, how to work with different professors, and more. I recommend checking out this quiz if you are looking for a wide variety of resources to support your learning, but also if you are looking for tools that are more tailored to your learning preferences.
Discovery Three: There are a vast number of different approaches to learning
As I went through the quiz and filled out my answers, it became very clear just how many different approaches to learning there are out there! Although I started this quiz intending to learn about my own approaches to learning, I found myself wanting to explore the different options under each question to see what different insights they provided as well. Returning to this quiz multiple times and trying out the different options can tell you a lot about what other students in your classes may be feeling while learning new material. It can also help you know how to best support your peers while working alongside them in various situations like group projects or collaborative work. Furthermore, if you are like me and you find that the way you learn has changed due to online classes, then you can periodically return to this quiz to find tips on how to adapt to your new learning preferences. Hopefully this post has given some information about why checking out the Approach to Learning: Self-Assessment would be useful and has inspired you to check it out!
Shaffer, L. (2020, December 2). Learning Styles Are More Myth Than Reality. Discover. https://www.discovermagazine.com/mind/learning-styles-are-more-myth-than-reality
Khazan, O. (2018, April 11). The Myth of ‘Learning Styles’. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/the-myth-of-learning-styles/557687/