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If you know what your learning style is, you will be able to adopt asuitable approach towards academics

How is it that you study? Do you take a lot of notes during a lecture? Or do you get more information by

just listening without interruption? May be you prefer to do something hands- on in order to better understand it? If you can answer questions like these truthfully, may be you have an idea of what your learning style is. Most people, after reading the first paragraph, will ask ‘What are learning styles?’Learning styles are different approaches or ways of learning the same thing.

‘Though many dismiss learning styles as just another theory, this information is quite helpful, especially to students. Knowledge of ones own learning style enables one to develop strategies to compensate for your weaknesses and capitalise on your strengths,’says adult educator Sangeeta Gole, who has also been a learning counsellor for over fifteen years.

Going by the theories and research findings across the globe, every individual has a learning style, and as an adult learner it may be of great benefit for you to know what your particular style may be. Knowing how to absorb and retain information may help you recognise your strong points as well as not- so- strong areas. The benefit? It can help you when doing assignments or preparing for an exam.

‘It is a practice in many schools in developed countries to recognise the studentsalt39learning styles as early as elementary school and adapt the classroom teaching accordingly,’says education

consultant Shilpa Karyekar, who has undertaken several training modules on learning styles in adults. ‘In India, where the greatest hindrance is that of numbers, it would be logistically difficult or even impossible. The silver lining is that at least the idea has found itself a way into the higher education system, however faint it may be right now,’she opines. According to Karyekar, many management institutions have found this new concept and are tyring to introduce it to the students as well as the faculty. Moreover, many corporate outfits are engaging in employee training programmes geared towards understanding individual learning styles and drawing benefits from it thereafter.

Gole elaborates that this approach brings to fore the fact that individuals perceive and process information in very different ways. She says, ‘The learning styles theory implies that the amount of learning that an individual goes through depends a lot on whether the information is presented in a manner suitable to his learning style, rather than whether or not he is alt145 smartalt39.’Finance manager Harpreet Singh had never heard about any such theory. All he knew was he had to go to college and study. Then he started work for a reputed insurance company after completing his MBA from a top notch b- school in the city. ‘During the initial training, he was introduced to the concept of learning styles. Suddenly it became clearer why he never succeeded beyond a point in the traditional Indian classroom. ‘Our system works on the one- to- many approach in class and the rotelearning for exams, which is always to do with cramming large chunks of text and reproducing it in the exam. I realised that I was not a person of words, but more of pictures and sketches. The notes which I took in class would be more of arrow diagrams running from one end of the page to the

other, graphs and charts linking the words,’he says. In the exams, he could not express himself succinctly with mere words, and lost out on the marks even though he was aware of the concepts.

‘During my MBA, it was better since in many ways I could use charts and presentations, but even then, I did lose out on the writing part,’Singh says. Ever since he has realised that his learning style is predominantly visual, he has tried to use it to his advantage to put forth materials to his company seniors and employees.

Classroom teaching, in fact, becomes more complicate

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