What’s your learning style? Do you prefer learning in a group and in an interactive setting? Or one-on-one? Do you retain information best through lectures, or visuals, or simply by reading books?
Source: Learning Style
To write this post, I began by taking free online tests to figure the learning style that is apparently I am most comfortable using. From various sites, the results pointed out that I am either a visual or an auditory lone-learner, which explains a series of mental loopholes I get when trying to study or learn something new as I try to stick with just one method. Not to mention the time one needs to grasp something differs in which subject one finds interesting as well. Or which ones leave a psychological trauma to a certain extent, like what happened with me trying to solve a math/physics/economics problem.
But other than the usual option of auditory, visual or kinaesthetic learning style, I gather the easiest way for me to learn is something rather elementary; a method recognizable on babies or children when they try to talk, pronounce something or sing, or do a certain action. I observe and imitate.
Take the time when I abruptly learn to play the piano as an example. Back then I learn more by watching my teacher playing the songs and memorizing where she presses the keys rather than actually learning to read the proper musical notations in the book. I also have the habit to deliberately watch certain movies or interviews over and over again because I found them enjoyable or interesting, and then I came to recall certain lines or pick up certain idioms and phrases, and that is mostly how I learn English, other than singing songs I like as I read the lyrics available in the cassettes or CDs (really, it’s not that long ago that people have cassettes). With the power of YouTube, I managed to pass weekly assignments I have for a mandatory Introduction to Economics class, as there are people (to whom I express my highest gratitude) who uploaded a step by step way to create graphs along with a much more comprehendable explanation compared to only reading the textbook.
Going back to the basics done right. Oh yeah.
The bad side of this is, once I found out that something is incompatible to this method of learning, I will forgo it in a snap. In other instances, fundamentally I was barely able to learn in a proper way. I discontinued the piano lessons (mostly because it is not too friendly to our family’s finances) and even though I sometimes practice certain songs by watching tutorials instead, essentially I had no idea how to create music or play a tune because I can discern notes and all like every trained professionals should, or at least those learning with the proper methods. This makes me feel like some sort of a cheater, which is why I evade any rooms with pianos available because I can’t handle the itch to try the only stupid little tunes I can play. As much as I enjoy playing it, I just do not deserve the credit as I only happen to appear to play well.
That leads me to question if in some skills, I may only be able to mimic rather than genuinely create something new, which is totally fine, because I think not everyone has to be all-powerful or multi-talented. I reckon it’s okay to be able to do less than others (though paradoxical considering the demands of the currently globalized era), even well-rounded people have their limits. Yet my concern is more on my inclination to easily drop things if it is unsuitable to my preferred method of learning. Does that mean I enjoy learning only things I can easily imitate? But don’t we all? Does that mean I am just lazy and unmotivated to develop myself more? Or is it totally normal to be discouraged in learning certain stuff personally not interesting to you, or in this case, conflicting to how you process things?
I suppose I’ll just be content with what I think I can do best right now, though it probably lacks originality. Some people might just be destined to mediocrity, which has always been highly underrated. After all, isn’t it the desire to learn that matters? Excelling in the said interests is another thing entirely… well, most of the time.