Is it sometimes hard for you take in the information you read? Or do you find pictures and diagrams to be too vague for your comprehension? Do you need steps clearly mapped out for you to get a grip on an idea? None of these drawbacks mean there is anything wrong with your studying – you’re just not customizing it to your learning style.
Everyone has a different learning style, and if you don’t know yours, we have a short quiz you can complete on our website, adapted from the Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Styles. These learning styles are visual global and verbal sequential.
So what do these mean and how should you take advantage of them?
Visual Global Learner
Visual global meaning: Now, as you might imagine, a visual learner feeds off images and visuals rather than the written word, but what does global mean? Well, you may find that you can swallow huge concepts with ease, then struggle to grasp the picky details at later stages, gradually comprehending something whole in smaller steps. As a visual global learner, you may find it difficult to explain the nitty-gritty, but easy to get across a large concept, especially when images are involved.
There is currently a lot of hype about the benefits of visual thinking and learning, with instructions piled up for students in the run-up to the new term. But have you ever applied it to your own life? Are you a master of connecting ideas for school, while your personal life is a complete mess?
Here are four very real and very important ways visual thinking can make a difference to your life.
Just because you work with facts and figures during your work day, doesn’t mean you can’t be creative in your own time. Maybe you’re a budding author or poet; maybe you enjoy sketching or designing – did you know that visual thinking can be invaluable for creating and honing your skills?
For most people, creativity strikes at odd times. But if you block out a time and set your visual thinking skills to work, you will soon find your innovation spring to life. Ideas that you always had in your head are now in front of you, and your brain is then better able to connect them, progress them, and even cut out ones that don’t work. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your brain is an endless pit for producing, retaining, and connecting ideas. It really isn’t, and Mr. Inspiration only strikes when he wants to.
If you’ve ever been a student, you will be all-too-familiar with that panicked, blank mind feeling when you have to begin a project. Suddenly, everything you have ever learned is wiped from your mind, or in a complete jumble, so how do you choose where to start?
When we conducted a study on students from Canada, the US, and New Zealand, the highest-ranking points of frustration where finding information, knowing where to start, and refining the research topic.
Sound familiar? If so, here is how to get over that initial hurdle.
Step 1: Lay out what you know
Before you start worrying about the details of your methodology and thesis statement, start with the very basics of what you already know. Using nouns and simple sentences, lay out a huge blank canvas (e.g. piece of paper or mind mapping software are great for this) and get your thoughts down. Be as creative as you like here, using diagrams and images if it helps you to remember or express your thoughts.