"You can organize materials and structure situations to fit your best way of learning, fine-tune your timing to capture your hours of maximum receptivity, and choose learning experiences that match your tastes," writes Ron Gross in Peak Learning.
But flexing your learning muscles by trying new styles is important, too. Presented here with Ron's permission are three reasons to get outside your learning style comfort zone.
1. Some Subjects Strongly Demand a Certain StyleThere are three advantages to experimenting with flexing your style. First, some subjects and situations strongly demand one or another style. When that happens. you are at a disadvantage if you can't switch into that mode and operate, if not at your maximum, at least effectively.
One example is academic courses, which generally require you to take a stringer approach.
Don't know if you're a grouper or a stringer? Take this learning style inventory: Are You a Grouper or a Stringer?
2. An Alternative Approach May Surprise YouSecond, you may discover that an alternative approach actually works surprisingly well. Perhaps you have never really given it a try only because some early experiences convinced you that you weren't successful with that approach.
All of us have neglected capacities of this kind. Finding yours can be a revelation and add a strong note to your intellectual repertoire. Thousands of people who "knew" they couldn't possibly draw or write — two powerful and gratifying ways of learning — have discovered that they can. Read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, and Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Rico.
3. Your Ability to Communicate Will ImproveAnd third, practice with different learning styles will greatly improve your capacity to communicate with other people who operate in those styles.
Beyond applying it to your own learning needs, you may find your new awareness of learning styles especially useful with children, if you are a parent or a teacher, and in your career. In both of these areas, chronic problems can be solved through this approach.
In the world of work, there is a widening recognition of the need to capitalize on different learning styles within organizations. See "Learning Styles in the Workplace."