Idea Maintenance


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.

Superpowers: You grasp large concepts with ease, and can draw pictures or diagrams to help others understand. When you see an image or diagram just once, your retention of that information is pretty amazing.

Weaknesses: If something is written down or explained out loud, you may find it difficult to understand and remember everything. Details don’t come quickly, either.

How you should study: Pictures and colors are your friends. If you are reading or listening to an explanation, start doodling and creating maps to enable your mind to connect the dots. Switch colors or highlighters in different sections for ease of memory. If you are struggling with a concept, search out videos, images, charts, or diagrams to help you understand.

Sometimes you may have little choice but to read a chunky article or web page, in which case you would do better to skim for a general understand (make notes and doodles!) then go back for smaller details. You should also study in larger blocks of time, but – as always – make sure you take regular breaks.


Connecting the power lines


Visual Sequential Learner

Verbal sequential meaning: As you might have gleaned from the title, verbal sequential learners prefer words – both spoken and written – and excel in structure and sequence. Organization of facts and figures is high on a sequential learner’s list, and they tend to focus on the tiny details. While you may pick up on details instantly, you struggle to connect them to the bigger picture and form an understanding of a larger concept.

Superpowers: Understanding details with ease, as well as organizing information into clear steps and progressions. You are able to solve smaller problems and predict consequences on a small scale, and discussions with others spark your creativity.

Weaknesses: Images or diagrams may confuse you and seem too vague or fuzzy. While you comprehend small details, the bigger picture and connection of ideas can take a little longer to master.

How you should study: Forming study groups is a great way to ignite your brainpower and develop your understanding. Not only will others’ explanations help you, but you may find when you explain something, an idea becomes clearer. Try to organize concepts in small stages on paper with lots of details, which you will then be able to connect.

If you are faced with diagrams and videos, convert them into your own notes that you will be more likely to digest, arranging it in steps that prioritize and organize. You should study in small chunks so you can understand each step fully before moving on and connecting.


Chatting around the table


Whichever learning style you find you fit, InsightNG’s intelligent digital assistant called Your Smartest Friend may be able to help you. Try it out and let us know what you think.


About Neil Movold

I am the founder and CEO of InsightNG. I have a career spanning across Canada, Australia, Bermuda and New Zealand. For most of my life, I have been keenly interested in how our human brains function at a cognitive level. When my son Jaden was born with Spina Bifida, my interest in human cognition became more focused, resulting in the creation of InsightNG. My current interests lie in the areas of social learning, open innovation, collective & contextual intelligence, knowledge discovery, findability and content visualization.