An Overview of Learning Styles
Cognition is described as “’thinking, and it encompasses the processes associated with perception, knowledge, problem-solving, judgment, language, and memory. Scientists who study cognition are searching for ways to understand how we integrate, organize, and utilize our conscious cognitive experiences without being aware of all of the unconscious work that our brains are doing.” To maximize your course learnings, it is helpful to gain a better understanding of how you piece together your own conscious cognitive experiences. With class resources, homework, and exams as some of your main materials, you can interact with them in a way that turns a “surviving” learning mindset into a “thriving” learning experience.
Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic are the three primary learning styles, and looking further into them will lead to positive outcomes such as more focused reading, information retention, correct answers, writing that shows quality over quantity, feeling less anxious around academic performance assessments, enjoying the learning process, and much more! Have a look at the main pillars of the above learning styles to begin identifying which ones you resonate with most:
- Visual: Seeing information represented as images really helps you, sometimes has a strong ability to memorize and/or recall learnings, and writing things out or watching concepts in action is ideal for you.
- Auditory: Hearing and speaking things out loud helps you learn best, especially in the explanation of directions, ideas, and even discussions.
- Kinesthetic: You benefit most in a learning environment from interacting with others or the material and learn well by dynamically engaging in real-time.
For each of the aforementioned learning styles, there are practices and methodologies you can implement as a student that will absolutely contribute to your AFPA success. And after all, learning is an ongoing process, so to fathom and integrate strategic study tools will benefit you both during and beyond your professional certifications with us.
AFPA Course-Specific Advice for Each Learning Style
For Visual Learners
Our courses are vast in reading and literature, which may be a plus to you as you prefer really seeing what you’re learning. At the same time, more complex concepts can feel abstract if you can’t visualize them. For that reason, we encourage taking notes as well as breaking complicated ideas into bite-sized summaries when you’re a visual learner here at AFPA.
Stanford raises an important point that understanding complex ideas is similar to conveying complex ideas: They both require reliable go-to’s such as diagraming a concept, breaking the concept down into stages or layers, comparing aspects of the concept to other familiar concepts for contextualization, taking the whole picture of the concept into account, and finding common ground between groups within concepts to explain their interconnections.
The idea of visualizing written content elements while also pausing to understand and solidify them relates to mindfulness as well. With our world’s ever-expanding range of visual stimuli, it can be incredibly difficult, even for visual learners, to look at just one thing for extended periods of time even though they can identify them at rapid speeds: “The human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds” (Trafton, 2014). Why? Because there are other unprecedented visual distractions such as phones, social media, lights, the radio, news blaring, and cars zooming just outside.
It becomes important, then, to not just read with the goal of comprehending but to also focus on the technology at hand without adding more into the mix. While reading in chunks and pausing to paraphrase main ideas, work toward putting all your other devices off, face down, or in silent mode when studying. Even better: Incorporate mentally grounding techniques such as these 15 memory-boosting tricks to help you succeed and stay present during your AFPA courses.
If you still need visual learning tips, here are additionally productive reading techniques:
- Scanning: Scan to identify important ideas only and take note of them.
- Skimming: Skim for the main idea only instead of resolving every little detail.
- Summarizing: Summarize takeaways every 10-20 pages.
- Summarizing Questions: Turn summarized takeaways into self-generated quiz questions that you can use to study later.
- Homework Leading: Review homework or practice tests first and then read with an eye to find that information in the texts instead of just reading the texts generally.
- Highlighting: Highlighting is a wonderful way to take scanning up a level with colors as aids.
- Video Time: If you’re particularly stuck on a concept that is visually portrayed via words but lost on meaning to you, ask an expert or search the internet for a video that will encapsulate that same concept with more than just text captions.
For Auditory Learners
Similar to visual learners, our courses will challenge, fulfill, and help grow students as readers and yet your active participation in your own learning makes all the difference.
One way to bring the text to life in an auditory fashion is by reading aloud. By this method, you will still employ many of the reading techniques listed above yet you will match it to your main learning style by way of hearing it all: “90% of information is transmitted visually” and yet less than that is supported auditorily. All in all, more auditory support is always beneficial.
When it comes to written information, visual learners must be willing to get a bit creative to truly achieve mastery. According to Cuyamaca College in “Visual learning,” “Essential study skills” by Dr. Wong, and “Study guides and strategies: Visual/spatial learning” by Dr. Lansberger, here are supportive guidelines for students who learn better via audio:
- Record lectures and then listen to them.
- Repeat material out loud and in your own words.
- Discuss materials in your study groups.
- Read textbooks aloud.
- Listen to wordless background music while studying.
In moving toward the kinesthetic learning experience, both visual and auditory experiences come into play by way of a learner’s direct interactions with the material.
For Kinesthetic Learners
Kinesthetic learners who step back and think about the big picture may learn more easily. In the context of our courses, one way to do this is by reviewing the practice exam before the course is over. That way, studying involves a constant experiencing of ideas and messages that the practice exam points to.
A recent AFPA article on Marketing 101 suggested, “Branding and marketing are how you take your invaluable knowledge and communicate it to clients in need. While it can be a hurdle for some to professionally put themselves out there, it is even more significant to make sure that when you do, it is for a well-meaning and well-informed purpose.” Reflecting on this quote during the learning process raises questions such as “why does this material matter?” and “how will this material be tested?” and “in what areas of my profession will this material apply” and “now that I know how the material integrates, how do I sell it?”
Thus, one way to do well in these holistic courses as a kinesthetic learner is to create hypotheses and/or projects for yourself that the information you’re learning feeds into. An activity in how you would market what you’re learning could be one. A task where you’re asked to assess a real client and come up with a nutrition plan for them—such as in our Holistic Nutritionist Certification—is often the assignment where students apply and retain the most information.
Altering your learning environment will also contribute positively to kinesthetic students in AFPA courses with the following recommendations:
- Take breaks.
- Don’t be afraid to physically stand up while working.
- Study in a cafe.
- Create a study group.
Every single learning style in these professional and holistic certification courses has the potential to learn and graduate with excellence. Now is a powerful time to get involved in the health and wellness industry. Objectively considering your own learning style as you acquire new knowledge that will one day foster healthful changes in another is a considerate use of your learning time.
3 Learning Styles and Strategies to Excel in Becoming a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Professional is written by Corinne Wainer, Ed.M., CPT, RYT for www.afpafitness.com