Ever had that moment when you are trying to study and you find that no matter what you do things just are not sticking? Or you can't remember them when that big test comes around?
Like me, you probably think that something is just wrong and maybe nursing is just not for you, because you've failed one test after the other. Well, I've got good news for you...it may not be that you are not made for nursing it might be that you are using the wrong learning style to get through nursing school.
What is one's learning style? Well, there are basically three types of learning styles:
Visual Learners understand information best by what they see. This includes seeing the words they read, PowerPoint projections, diagrams, watching demonstrations, items that have vivid colors that appeal to their sense of vision. They enjoy visually striking movies that are fast-paced and use lots of colors to highlight items they need to remember. Visual learners would probably skim the bold and highlighted main points in this article and read through it quickly.
Auditory Learners are experts at listening and learn best from what they hear. They would rather not watch a PowerPoint, but prefer to record lectures and play them back to study. They may read notes out loud or have a friend quiz them on an upcoming test. They need diagrams to be explained to them, which does not mean they stupid at learning a diagram, rather hearing the explanation reinforces the visual data into their memory banks. They are also great at following verbal directions, whereas a visual learner, like myself, prefers to get the instruction written down and in my hand so I can read it. Auditory learners would probably read this entire article out loud to themselves.
Kinesthetic / Tactile Learners
Got a bunch of friends who love to hug, touch are feeling? Those are our kinesthetic learners. Tactile learners enjoy hands-on experience. They will excel in labs and physical assessment. They learn best by doing, touching and manipulating. They enjoy working with equipment, need the write things down to remember them, may enjoy chewing gum or snacking while studying and may "finger spell" words rather than write it down. They rather demonstrate or act out a disease process rather than listen to a boring lecture. Tactile learners will probably skim through this article and may just skip to the last part in the references where they can actually do the learner inventory test.
Many nursing students may already know this and may have previously tried to use a learning inventory in order to determine what learning style is most effective for them. A learning inventory is a list of questions which helps those of us who have trouble determine what their learning style is.
Humans normally do not solely use one (1) learning style, in fact, we tend to use all three (3) based on the task we are trying to accomplish. It is important to know your own learning style, its strengths, and weaknesses.
Why is it important to know your learning style? Well first of, in the field of nursing knowing yourself provides you with a solid foundation on which you are able to successfully face the challenges from the different people you will be working with, in addition to learning all the new procedures that will come your way once you finish nursing school. Knowing your strengths also helps you know what your weaknesses are, so you can be aware of areas you need to work on. It is common knowledge that if we incorporate all 3 learning styles we will remember things even better.
So maybe you are great at labs but terrible at weekly quizzes, maybe you are terrible at online quizzes but great at written in class quizzes or maybe for some Power Point lectures are awesome while for others it just puts them to sleep. It all relates to your learning style.
Ever had a horrible professor? Yeah, we all can attest to having that terrible boring professor that made us fail the test or did they? If so, why did your classmates Ace the test? and in fact, they love that professor you hate so much? Well, it might not be that the professor was horrible, it's just that he or she did not appeal to your learning style and therefore nothing they said ever stuck and so your brain shuts down on that subject.
In order to solve this problem, you first need to know your learning style. Once that is determined, you then need to adapt the professors' lectures, power points, notes and textbooks to your style and this would ensure success in every exam you take.
Take the Barsch learning style inventory test linked in the references or just do a web search for "learner inventory" to find other test and compare. Once you do that do another search for study tips for your particular learning style so can know how to adapt your professor's lectures and get the most out of studying.
I did several different tests and they all determined I am a visual learner, followed by auditory as my next strongest. Next comment on what is your learning style and how you have adapted it to become a great nursing student or nurse.