It is very important for a person to be tuned into one's self in order to understand how one can make the learning process effective and efficient. A person needs to take into consideration his or her interest in the study topic and the effectiveness of study processes used by the person in the past. There are four categories of questions to consider when a person is trying to understand one's learning style.
The first category is to review the past. How did you learn to study? Do you work best in a quiet environment or with some background noise? Do you work better independently or in groups? It is also important to be familiar with one's likes, dislikes, and abilities with regards to reading, public speaking, memorizing, summarizing, problem solving, analyzing, interpreting, and reviewing. Finally, a person should evaluate the types of tests he or she is more comfortable taking (i.e. essay exams, multiple choice questions, short answer, etc.)
The second category involves evaluating one's current position. For example, it is important to consider the topic, how interested one is in the topic, and one's motivation to learn. One also needs to have a study plan and time line that is reasonable for the individual. Finally, one needs to evaluate whether or not one's current situation can encourage success, as well as what factors can be changed to help promote success.
The third category involves a person's actual study process as well as the topic. One should evaluate the information one already knows about the subject and other topics related to the main subject. One also needs to know what sources he or she will use to study such as textbooks, Internet sources, newspapers, etc. The actual process of studying is important to evaluate as well. The person needs to be aware of how he or she processes the information, and whether or not he or she understands it the first time it is introduced. Can one summarize the new material in his or her own words? Also, it may be necessary for the person to discuss the information with other students or with an expert in the field to help further understand the material.
Finally, the fourth category focuses on reviewing the study process. If the person was successful in learning the material, he or she should review what components made this possible. If the person was not successful, he or she needs to question why the plan was not a success and what he or she could do different next time. By following these different categories, one is able to understand one's abilities and weaknesses in an effort to improve study habits, and thus improve results.
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