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Practical tips to make learning easy

As a Behavioural Change Specialist, I help people change the responses, reactions and patterns of behaviour that have prevented them from having the life they deserve.

These blogs are intended to offer some useful perspectives and practical tips for us to expand our thinking, and enjoy the benefits that we discover as we do.

Please feel free to contact me directly should you wish to book a either an online or face to face consultation: jen@jenniknlp.com

You are welcome to visit www//linktr.ee/jenniknlp for more interviews, podcasts and videos

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Follow the below link to listen to the brief discussion that we had on the "Mind Matters" show on the "Miller Time Sunday Breakfast Show".


Miller time podcast link



If you are uncertain of how to identify preferred learning styles I'd encourage you to go back and read last weeks blog that offers simple tips for identifying preferred learning styles. https://www.jenniknlp.co.za/post/simple-ways-to-identify-learning-styles


It's time to get creative! As you read and put these ideas into action I hope that they ignite a spark of creativity that allow you to enrich and encourage an easier and more enjoyable experience of learning.


HOW WE LEARN


All experience is a result of what we take in and interpret through out 5 senses which are

Visual ( what we see)

Auditory ( what we hear)

Kinaesthetic ( what we feel)

Gustatory ( what we taste )

Olfactory ( what we smell)


We all use all 5 sense to make sense of our world and the more we incorporate all our senses the better but it is helpful to recognise that we do each have a natural preference or learning style. When it comes to learning new information the three most dominant sense that come into play are the Visual, Auditory and kinaesthetic senses, so while I encourage incorporating all our senses for a richer experience I am going to focus on the three dominant learning styles.


ADAPTING OUR APPROACH:


A few years ago I had the opportunity to teach dance lessons. I decided to put some of my behavioural skills to use in these lessons. In the first lesson I paid close attention to each student's preferred processing style so that I could make it as easy as possible for them to succeed and feel confident on the dance floor.


If you are uncertain of how to identify preferred learning styles I'd encourage you to go back and look at last weeks blog that offers tips for identifying preferred learning styles. https://www.jenniknlp.co.za/post/simple-ways-to-identify-learning-styles


I recognised that for students, with a preference for visual processing, It was helpful to "map out", in relation to the lines on the floor, where they would move through the set of steps . It was even helpful to draw a directional diagram on a piece of paper.

Once the steps were mapped out, I would demonstrate the steps and let them watch, before to doing it themselves, this gave a clear picture of where they were going and became easier for them to follow.


Students that preferred auditory instruction, responded well to a verbal description of what they were going to do. And found it easy to follow when I talked them through the step as they danced. They related well to the rhythm of the music, counting out loud and emphasising the beat at the start of a new set with a clap or vocal cue.


Students who preferred a kinaesthetic approach, learned more easily through direct contact, and demonstration of the body movement as they were asked to copy the movements as I danced it with them . They found it easier to understand when focused on the pressure of the hand to contact or how ones body moved in relation to their partner. They preferred to be lead through the step and corrected through touch as they move. explaining how a movement extends through the body or paying attention to how it feels in the body helped to make sense of the steps.



The scope of how we can enrich our learning through sensory experiences is limited only by our imaginations. Once we understand some of the fundamental principles of each of these preferred learning styles we can adapt to suit varying styles. Below are some guidelines to start considering.



CONSIDERATION FOR LEARNERS WITH A VISUAL PREFERENCE


Learning Environment and Apparatus:

As far as possible ensure that learners are looking up, above eye level, at what is being taught. (When we look upward we access our visual processing)


Make use of colour and vivid images


Make use of visual aids such as drawing boards, projector screens, paper and coloured pens, posters, diagrams, images and objects that relating to what is being taught.


Chunk size:

When people process visually, they are literally describing what they see. They use rich descriptive language and tend to use lots of word , they offer large "chunk sizes" of information.

We can challenge ourselves to offer information in the same way. Starting off by giving the context of what we will be teaching and then adding all the detail necessary to "paint a picture" of what we're explaining.


Pace and processing time:

People who are describing pictures in their mind tend to speak quicker as they describing what they see before them. They don't need to conduct an "internal conversation" with themselves as part of the process. They give and expect immediate responses. If we move too slowly with visual learners we will loose them and they are likely to get distracted by the pictures in their mind so we need to interact at a faster pace with visual learners.


Let them teach:

Invite visual learners to teach what they have learned, encourage then to make use of drawing white boards, images, posters or any other visual aides available to explain what they understand.

Using cue cards:

We can make use of cue cards and where ever possible associate ideas to pictures.

Cue cards should be held above eye level so that learners are encouraged to look upwards.

As we can only recall 3-5 bits of information at a time we need to make sure that cue cards have small chunks of information on each card

We should use colour and make our cue cards bold and clear.


Use of stories:

When using stories to teach ideas or information encourage the learner to visualise the scene and make use of rich descriptive language. After sharing the story we can encourage them to draw a picture of what they heard or read, and to incorporate all he important information into the picture.


Body Language:

Visual learners show us with large hand gestures what they are describing, we can challenge ourselves to do the same and imagine we're showing them, with your hands, what we're describing or explaining.


Learning and memory techniques:

we can encourage learners to make use of spider graphs, mind maps, labelled diagrams, mind palace techniques, visualisation and creative drawing to memorise and recall information


Project assignments: Visual learners love to make things look good so we can encourage them to apply their learning to a project that they can present as a model / poster or visual presentation.


Group work or discussions:

We can encourage visual learners to capture the feedback of the groups activity by creating a mind map, picture or diagram . Visual learners usually have the beautiful hand writing.



CONSIDERATION FOR LEARNERS WITH AN AUDITORY PREFERENCE:


Where ever possible we need to be mindful to encourage a visual link or include visual aides so that the auditory preference links to a visual representation. For the purpose of recalling large quantities of information developing ones visual processing is hugely beneficial as a picture can hold a huge amount of information that can be stored as one chunk of information rather than multiple chunks of information


Learning Environment and Apparatus:

As far as possible we should encourage learners to look up at visual cues while we describe out loud in a step by step manner what we are teaching.

Auditory learners find it easy to learn and understand through discussions, listening and asking questions. Many Auditory learners are incorrectly labelled as "lazy" because of their reluctance to self study through reading information. They often frustrate others because their learning can appear effortless if they have had the benefit of a rich class discussion .


We can encourage auditory learners to read or repeat information out loud

Make use of rhyme, rhythm, songs and sound wherever possible and use variations in our voices to retain the learners attention to highlight important information.


Chunk size:

Auditory learners typically read information, then repeat it internally to themselves, so that they can make sense of what they have read. For this reason reading tasks can be tedious and time consuming for auditory learners. They tend to enjoy information that is given in a step by step manner and prefer written information to be presented in point form.

Auditory learners enjoy concise chunks of information.

Pace and processing time:

Auditory learners usually test out their response in their heads before speaking to ensure that their answer sounds right and is expressed in the right tone. For this reason auditory learners may take longer to respond to questions than visual learners, as they formulate and test how they will express their opinion. Understanding this allows us to give the learner the appropriate time to formulate the correct response. If they have not had time to sufficiently test their response internally, they may repeat their thinking out loud a few times, with minor adjustments each time, to ensure that they have used the precise wording to express themselves in a the most clear and concise manner possible.

Let them teach:

we can invite auditory learners to teach what they have learned, by explaining out loud what they have understood or encourage them to facilitate a discussion about what they are learning.

Using cue cards:

We can make use of cue cards as a visual link to a verbal discussion, remembering that visual information should be held above eye level so that learners have to look upwards.

we can the learner to repeat the cue card information out loud or talk about the idea presented on the cue card.

It's useful to teach learners to use cue cards for giving oral presentations so that they get used to talking about an idea rather than trying to remember and recall a written speech word for word.


Use of stories:

When using stories to teach we need to make sure that we use expressive tones and that we accentuate important points with our voice. We can encourage learners to read out loud.

Auditory learners will prefer to tell you stories rather than having to write them down. If the aim is to encourage creative thinking then it is not important whether or not that creativity is expressed in writing or verbal story telling.


Body Language:

Auditory learners tend to move and sway to a rhythm, its could be helpful to include this kind of rhythmic movement into lessons where we are demonstrating patterns in new concepts. Including a rhythmic pattern or sound helps an auditory learner to integrate and make sense of information.


Learning and memory techniques:

We can encourage learners to form discussion groups, to create rhymes and make up songs to help them remember and recall information. Auditory learners do well with Q & A discussions where they get to ask and answer questions. we can let them describe what they understand and act as a "sound board" while they figure out and make sense of new ideas.

Project Assignments:

We can ask auditory learners to prepare oral presentations about the information they are learning and encourage them to make it interesting through expressive storytelling, creative poetry , rhyme or songs to communicate their message.


Group work or discussions:

We can select auditory learners to be the spokes person who shares the feedback from groups exercise. Auditory learners are usually very happy to talk through visual presentation that have been created by the group.



CONSIDERATION FOR LEARNERS WITH A KINAESTHETIC PREFERENCE:


Where ever possible we need to be mindful to encourage a visual link or include visual aides so that can link to a kinaesthetic information. For the purpose of recalling large quantities of information developing ones visual processing is hugely beneficial as a picture can hold a huge amount of information that can be stored as one chunk of information rather than multiple chunks of information


Learning Environment and Apparatus:

Kinaesthetic learners need to to move and do.

They enjoy working at standing desks or being able to walk and talk, exploring and learning on the move. If they have to sit at a desk they could try sitting on pilates ball, tying an elastic around the legs of their chair that they can kick against or sit on a silicone support cushion. It's been drummed into most of us that we must not chew gum while we're at school. Assuming that the learner knows to chew with their mouths closed so as not to irritate other around them, the act of chewing gum can assist kinaesthetic learners to integrate and process information more easily. Kinaesthetic learners tend to fiddle so we can look for things that they can fiddle with that are not going to be disturbing to others, some suggestions may be a ball of Prestik, a stress ball or an old remote that they can absent-mindedly fiddle with and press buttons.


Physical comfort is important to Kinaesthetic learners, if they are uncomfortable they may find it difficult to concentrate.


we need to attention to facilitating a positive, feel good environment, Kinaesthetic learners need to feel good about what and how they are learning.

Chunk size:

Kinaesthetic learners tend to have a lengthy processing pattern and as such, given too much information at one time it can feel overwhelmed. Often the visual tendency to use lost of words can cause a kinaesthetic learner to switch off so it's important that new information is given one piece at a time.

Pace and processing time:

kinaesthetic learners tend to take in information, conduct an internal discussion in their mind as they make sense of something and then check in to make sure that it feels right before offering feedback.

It can often appear that kinaesthetic learners are switching off of disengaging as they process information but this is not necessarily the case, unless you have overwhelmed them with too much in one go, They simply need to be allowed the time to process and check in with how they feel about what has been shared with them before they respond.

We cannot rush a kinaesthetic learners we need to be patient, as we and allow these deep thinkers to blossom.


Let them teach:

we can invite auditory learners to teach what they have learned, encouraging them to explain what they have learned through practical demonstration.


Using cue cards:

When we use visual cue cards we should encourage Kinaesthetic learners to hold and sort the cards them selves. By asking them to place or hold the cards above eye level we are incorporating a visual link to the physical action of holding up the cards.

It is a good idea for Kinaesthetic learners to make their own cue cards to use as part of a game or to be sorted into logical clusters.


Use of stories:

When using stories to communicate to kinaesthetic learners we are aiming to create an experience. We are taking them on a journey and are incorporating the ideas and information that we're teaching along the way. We want them to participate in the story. One way to do this is to encourage them to imagine themselves in the situation, imagine themselves as he hero of the story. We could also use their name in place of the lead character or incorporate places and events that are familiar to them to help make them an active part of the story.


Another way to actively involve kinaesthetic learners in story learning is to encourage them to act out a play

Body Language:

Kinaesthetic learners like to do, they want hands on experience. Anything that allows them to hold, make, build, or physically manipulate their environment is going to be beneficial. Wherever possible we can incorporate physical action, textures, and apparatus that they can use.

Learning and memory techniques:

We can encourage kinaesthetic learners to take notes, even if they are illegible. Kinaesthetic learns tend to "doodle" as they listen to discussions which helps them process what they are hearing. Encouraging them to write on the board, build models, conduct experiments is also helpful. When preparing study notes it is helpful for them to write with coloured pens that write smoothly or to use highlighters to highlight the important information. Kinaesthetic learners will enjoy the texture of writing with different pens and the act of highlighting makes reading a more active experience.


Project Assignments:

We can sign project to kinaesthetic learners where they are expected to build models, conduct experiments, act out or make use of props to present their projects.

Group work or discussions:

The use of physical apparatus, or tasks that require the group members to move around or walk while they complete the group exercise is helpful to kinaesthetic learners. Incorporating scavenger hunts, or team activities that require physical interaction between group members will engage kinaesthetic learners and help to integrate the learning more easily.


I hope that you have found this information useful and that you can apply the general concepts to a multitude of creative ideas to make learning easier and more fun.

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​© 2018 by Jenni K NLP