Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Follow Your Nose

I've sometimes said of myself, “I’m like a mole, I have to smell my way along.” More accurately, I might say “swim my way along” because moles have small eyes and lack external ears. To compensate, their long snouts and paddle-like forefeet allow them to “swim” through the soil. 

My learning style is kinesthetic, compared to auditory or visual channels for learning. For example, I tried to learn Adobe InDesign to use in self-publishing e-books. I bought the software. I bought the InDesign book. I had a video tutorial. I did NOT swim along!

In contrast, a friend with an auditory learning style says, “Give me a book and I can learn anything.” He hears the words in his mind, and understands.

A student of music whose learning style is auditory would focus on pitch, rhythm, phrasing, articulation, tempo. Another with a more visual learning style might picture rice being spilled on the floor to remember a certain passage. And a kinesthetic learner might touch the instrument and feel the vibrations or compare the music to the sensation of riding a horse at full gallop. 

When I created my web site many years ago, I bought a package deal, for the consultant to spend a few hours with me setting up the web site and showing me the basics, then to be available to answer my questions. Don’t take “showing” literally. He quickly saw how important it was for me to put my fingers on the keyboard and try things out myself. A whole variety of kinesthetic metaphors would fit here. I paced. I tore out my hair. I stumbled. But bit by bit I got the “feel” for it. I nosed my way into it. 

So if you find yourself frustrated when trying to learn something new, give yourself credit for having a preferred way of learning that may not have been addressed. Here's a general way to assess your learning style:

When you..
Visual
Auditory
Kinesthetic & Tactile
Spell
Do you try to see the word?
Do you sound out the word or use a phonetic approach?
Do you write the word down to find if it feels right?
Talk
Do you favor words such as see, picture, and imagine?
Do you use words such as hear, tune, and think?
Do you use words such as feel, touch, and hold?
Concentrate
Do you become distracted by untidiness or movement?
Do you become distracted by sounds or noises?
Do you become distracted by activity around you?
Meet someone again
Do you forget names but remember faces or remember where you met?
Do you forget faces but remember names or remember what you talked about?
Do you remember best what you did together?
Contact people on business
Do you prefer direct, face-to-face, personal meetings?
Do you prefer the telephone?
Do you talk with them while walking or participating in an activity?
Read
Do you like descriptive scenes. imagine the actions?
Do you hear the characters talk?
Do you prefer action stories?
Do something new
Do you like to see demonstrations, diagrams, slides, or posters?
Do you prefer verbal instructions or talking about it with someone else?
Do you prefer to jump right in and try it?

For a free, detailed learning style assessment, go to 
Colin Rose's Accelerated Learning.

 

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