This blog post looks at learning styles:
- What are learning styles?
- How can learning styles help dyslexic people?
- How can you work out your own learning styles?
And then at strategies:
- Some approaches and strategies I use to learn things by ear
- Some books that offer approaches and strategies.
What are learning styles?
Learning styles are the ways we prefer to learn things. Just as our personalities vary from person to person, so do our learning styles – they are in effect our characters as learners.
There are many different types of learning styles. For example:
- sensory (learning through seeing, hearing or doing);
- cognitive (how you think and deal with information); and
- environmental (e.g. learning on your own or with others).
This interactive pictogram shows one set of learning styles.
How can learning styles help dyslexic people?
Learning styles provide a framework you can use to work out how you learn. Then you can choose approaches and strategies that suit you. For example, if you learn better through pictures than words, you can choose approaches and strategies that will let you learn through pictures.
How can you work out your own learning styles?
I recommend the questionnaire that is no. 2 on this list as a starting point.
3 approaches / strategies I use to learn content by ear
My school Modern Studies teacher was wont to say ‘OK everyone, put your pens down now and listen. This is a really important point’. Then he’d tell us something that he wanted us to grasp. However, I couldn’t take it in by just listening – I had to write it down in order to keep focussed on it. But even writing it down didn’t make it ‘go in’.
By contrast, to break up the lesson he would tell us stories that had nothing to do with Modern Studies. They have stuck in my mind, yet I never wrote a word of them down.
So although just listening didn’t work at all for Modern Studies, it worked a treat for stories.
Since then, I’ve discovered that taking visual notes while I listen helps me learn Modern Studies-type content (abstract and factual). I make my notes more visual by using visual recording techniques and spider diagrams (see no. 6 on this list). I use this strategy for taking in the content of church sermons.
Doing something else at the same time as listening also helps me take in fictional audiobooks. In this case, though, the other activity needs to be something mindless, like washing up. You could also try knitting or squeezing a stressball.
So to summarize, here are 3 approaches / strategies I use to learn content by ear:
- Just listening if the content is short stories e.g. a few sentences.
- Taking visual notes if the content is abstract and factual e.g. sermons.
- Doing something mindless if the content is long stories e.g. audiobooks.
Books that offer approaches and strategies
The following books suggest approaches and strategies suitable for each different learning style. They are all available to borrow from Dyslexia Scotland’s Resource Centre. You can also make up your own strategies and approaches.
- ‘Making Dyslexia Work for You’ by Goodwin and Thomson
- ‘Living with Dyslexia’ pages 56 – 57
- ‘The Dominance Factor’ by Carla Hannaford
- ‘Dyslexia and Learning Style – A Practitioner’s Handbook’ by Tilly Mortimore
- ‘The Dyslexic Advantage’ by B and F Eide chapters 8, 13, 18 and 23.
How about you?
- What sticks in your mind?
- Can you work out why?
- What strategies and approaches help you learn?
By an anonymous adult member of Dyslexia Scotland