By Deji (Student blogger: BSc Marketing)
This week, I was hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok, and flat out deceived. See, I was forced to attend a workshop that is by nature, voluntary. A workshop that, only hours before, I had received an alert of, but decided to mentally, politely decline. It was on ‘types of learners and learning strategies’, and apart from just wanting my ‘institutionally allocated’ free time, I thought, “I’ve been learning just fine, thank you very much”. Yet, there I was, course mates in the same sorry boat sat around me; bright-eyed and hardly-tamed first years sat around us. I got out my pen and notepad, and searched for a spot in the wall that might make the next hour go by quicker.
The coordinator handed out copies of one of those scoring charts that swear they know you more than you could possibly know yourself. This one was called VARK – essentially a list of questions with multiple choice answers that, depending on your choices, would determine what type of learner you are. Possibly more useful than finding out which Avenger or Hannah Montana character you are, I know. My chart decided – not to my surprise – that I am “flexible in communication preferences” (in this case, Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, or Kinaesthetic). Woohoo.
Okay, seriously…though it’s true that experience had already shown me what the chart was saying, it was sort of interesting to see it on paper. When we all had our results, the coordinator took us through each of these learning types, as well as the study habits they explain and some strategies that could help us play to our strength(s). You could see in the room, this small sense of being seen and understood. Students who perhaps might have been struggling with traditional study methods/learning strategies and so on. What I felt though, was reassurance. An affirmation that the overly varying, sometimes semi-questionable learning processes that I use, are valid. I hadn’t previously thought to categorise them, because well, if they work, why bother? Yet, there I was, mmm-ing and ahh-ing at the explanations. I actually felt something gratitude-adjacent.
Now I’m no neurologist, but I suppose the lesson here is, we’re probably better off with even a millimetre of our minds open. Bad joke, forget it, thanks. Anyway, I definitely recommend having a quick look at some learning types/strategies, to try to identify a best fit for you. Whatever year/level you’re in, really.
Well, I’ll be at the next workshop and here’s to an even more illuminating session.