How to learn: an alternative to learning styles
At Self Development Academy, we value lifelong learning. As a well established school with decades of success, top-notch teachers, and award-winning academic programs, we certainly know how to teach but maybe more importantly, how to learn.
Did you know that the idea of learning styles – that students learn best when they receive information in one of three preferred methods (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) – has largely been debunked? According to the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning at Yale University, more than 70 separate learning-style instruments and theories have been documented in education literature, and they recommend a broader approach to learning than the traditional learning styles concept.
At SDA, we meet our students where they are while keeping in mind their potential for mastery and excellence. If you are an adult hoping to learn a new skill or subject matter, or you are helping your child learn, consider these tips on how to learn:
Keep it varied.
Variety is the spice of life, and learning should never be stale! When learning, immerse yourself in the subject matter. Use podcasts, documentaries, and books to start. Involve friends or family. Go for walks or utilize movement in other ways. Engage all five of your senses. Memorize key concepts or details. Process while you paint or write a creative story that relates to your subject. The possibilities are endless!
Repeat important concepts. Try to learn about things from different angles. For example, if you’re learning about a period of history, read from different viewpoints, like an historical novel, or two sides of a war, or study art that came out of the same time period.
Let curiosity lead.
When you haven’t quite grasped a concept or detail, don’t get frustrated. Get curious. What other knowledge will help you understand? Who can you ask for help?
Stay connected to why this knowledge is important. What initially led you to want to learn about this? Some would argue that an expert on a subject has more questions than a student at the most basic level. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. That’s part of learning!
At the end of lessons, reflect on not only what you learned, but how. Be aware of how you enjoy learning.
What makes learning about this subject easy? Difficult? How can you optimize your enjoyment of learning? How can you challenge yourself to gain new skills and stretch yourself while you learn?
Student becomes teacher.
Solidify understanding and mastery of concepts by teaching them. Creating a lesson plan, explaining material to a new student, and answering questions will hammer home the subject matter.
As you continue learning, your teaching will automatically follow these tips: be varied, repetitive, led by curiosity, and reflective. When the world is your classroom, all students become teachers, and all teachers are also students.
If you are looking for a school that knows how to learn, contact us at (480) 641-2640 or (602) 274-1910 to get more information about our K-8 nationally awarded charter school of excellence with an advanced learning curriculum. In addition to online learning, we have campuses in Phoenix, Glendale, East Mesa, and Mesa.