Is Online Study Right for Your Learning Style?

If you’ve considered going back to school online but you aren’t sure it is right for you, you should consider the many different methods online schools use to teach students. Thousands of students are successful each year in earning online degrees and go on to be wonderful employees in their profession. Other students become frustrated with the structure of online schools and return to campuses. This may have a lot to do with individual learning style. There are three basic learning styles we should look at:  visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

Notes taken by a visual-linguistic learner. Photo by Austin Kleon

Visual- Visual learners are actually broken down into two different categories: Linguistic and Spatial.

  • Linguistic learners learn best by reading and writing. They are avid note takers and will remember things they wrote down even if they never read over it again. Online courses are excellent for linguistic learners because a majority of the information is learned through reading material. You’ll be given all instructions in a written from so you can go back and re-read them. Linguistic learners study best in quiet private areas so make sure you have a personal space where you can spend time learning class material.
  • Spatial learners rely on charts and graphs to absorb information. If you find yourself spending a lot of time studying charts then you might be a spatial learner. Spatial learners often have difficulty gathering information by simply reading a textbook. Charts, demonstrations and videos are some of the best ways for them to learn. Online courses can work for spatial learners if they select classes appropriately. Look for classes that have video lectures. Spend time studying charts and even re-drawing them so you can visually see them a second time. Study away from distractions so you’re able to stay focus.

Auditory- When you are studying do often find yourself talking out loud? This can be a sign that you are an auditory learner. These students often learn a lot more from a lecture than they would by reading articles or textbooks. Online school is definitely not out of the question for auditory learners. Many of today’s online courses have audio recordings of lectures and sometimes even videos. You’ll be able to access these materials at any time so you can really focus on them. It might be a good idea to study alone for these courses as well because you’ll be able to repeat out loud main points and key words.

Kinesthetic- If you are more of a hands-on learner than chances are you’re a kinesthetic learner. They do best when touching and moving. Activities that get them up and moving will stay with them and they are likely to be very successful in careers that include a lot of involvement. Kinesthetic learners study best when there are distractions. Use music when you study, color code keywords and definitions, and take breaks often when you’re studying.  Many people think that online classes will not work for kinesthetic but it can be completely possible. Many courses are not hands-on whether taken on campus or not. Kinesthetic learners can benefit from a “blended learning” environment where they attend some classes at a local campus and other classes can be done independently.

If you still don’t know what your personal learning style is, there are many tests you can take online to help figure it out. No matter what your learning style is, online classes can work for you. Anyone can be successful with an online education by selecting the right courses, and studying effectively for their particular learning style.

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About SherRon Marcek

SherRon is a writer and editor for MCC. She studied journalism and writes a blog of her own. She loves to cook and try new recipes when she isn't out shopping for new shoes or walking her pet beagle, Charlie.

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