Why the “Learning Styles” Concept is Wrong (And What to Use Instead)

I first learned about learning styles from my middle school guidance counselor. Standing before the class in our monthly “guidance” session, she gave the following proclamation:

“There are three learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. This test will help you determine which style comes most naturally to you.”

We nodded our heads, picked up our pencils, and took the test just like any other. Once the counselor guided us through the test’s complicated rubric, I found that my learning style was visual. I carried that knowledge with me through the rest of school and never questioned it.

I’ve always loved this neat explanation of three learning styles, and I’ve even used it to justify why I struggled with subjects such as math (“it’s just not visual enough,” I’d complain to my mom, even though the very visual subject of geometry was one I struggled with the most).

So you can imagine my surprise when after nearly ten years of believing in it, I learned that the traditional idea of learning styles is wrong.

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7 Ways to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

When I was in 7th grade, my U.S. history teacher gave my class the following advice:

Your teachers in high school won’t expect you to remember every little fact about U.S. history. They can fill in the details you’ve forgotten. What they will expect, though, is for you to be able to think; to know how to make connections between ideas and evaluate information critically.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but my teacher was giving a very basic summary of critical thinking. My high school teachers gave a similar speech when describing what would be expected of us in college: it’s not about the facts you know, but rather about your ability to evaluate them.

Even in college, I occasionally hear professors mention that the ability to think about (and devise solutions to) difficult problems matters more in the “real world” than knowledge of specific content.

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4 Lessons I Learned From Jullien Gordon’s “The Other 4.0”

Editor’s Note: Hey guys! This is Ransom’s first article as a full CIG team member. If you enjoy it, let him know in the comments!

Do you ever get the feeling that you could be getting more out of your college experience?

That perhaps you’re only scratching the surface, only using a fraction of the resources available to you? As a College Info Geek reader, I’m sure you’re already way ahead of your peers, but if you want to do more to set yourself up for success, today’s post offers some actionable advice from college success speaker and author Jullien Gordon.

Gordon recently visited my school and gave a presentation titled “The Other 4.0: How To Maximize Your College Experience and Get More Than An Expensive Education.”

Gordon’s presentation touched on everything from debt reduction to networking to living a meaningful life. Read More…

The Student Success Triangle (Ok, It’s More Like The Life Success Triangle…)

How many students do you know that only focus on their grades?

When you’re spending years of your life and taking on debt to invest in your success, this is a terrible practice. When I interviewed Wine Library TV/VaynerMedia founder and all-around brilliant guy Gary Vaynerchuk, he had the same opinion:

“I’m completely baffled as to why people think amassing debt to get a piece of paper that everyone else has and doing nothing else to set themselves up for success is a good idea.”

As I’ve thought more and more about this, I’ve come to the solid conclusion that students who do this are massively limiting their potential. In fact, they can only reach 1/3 of it by sticking only to the books. That’s because they’re neglecting two other areas of equal importance. Read More…

How To Avoid Black And White Thinking: A Marriage Of Heuristics And Precision

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize again and again that black-and-white thinking is one of the most unproductive and misleading ways of looking at the world.

“Political Party X is wrong. College is always a good investment. Notes must be taken on notebook paper. You’ve got to take a stance on this issue. Decide now!

One of the many problems with this approach is the issue of precision. When asked for an opinion on a certain issue, how can you make that judgement without knowing the issue’s details?

Many issues are deceptively simple when presented in the form that humans understand intuitively; that is, when they’re presented in language. Read More…

21 Educational Podcasts That’ll Make You Smarter

I daresay, my good fellow – you look like you’ve got quite the conundrum on your hands if I do say so myself!

You see, you’re sitting at your computer, reading this blog post and trying to learn something. And of course, that’s all well and good.

But there’s something nagging at the back of your mind, now isn’t there? Some small voice telling you:

“I really should go hit the gym.”

And so you should – but I’ll agree that it’s quite unfortunate you can’t continue reading and learning while you do so.

…or can you?

Alright, you can stop imagining this post being voiced by an elderly British gentleman. If you’re looking for a way to make all that gym time productive for your mind as well as your body, then podcasts are your answer.

In fact, any time you’re doing something less than mentally stimulating – driving, walking to class, doing your laundry – you can probably pop in your headphones and listen to a podcast at the same time.

What is a podcast? Put simply, it’s some form of episodic content that you can subscribe to and download. Usually it’s audio or video, and anyone with a mic and an internet connection can make one.

Podcasts aren’t nearly as numerous as blogs, but there are still a lot to sift through out there. So, to help you dive into the world of podcasts, I’ve created a list of my favorites. Read More…

Progression Does Not End At Graduation

I walk really fast. I mean, there might be cultures in the world where the average walking speed is faster than mine, but at least in the U.S. and Japan, you could say I set my pace with posthaste.

It doesn’t help that I’m a broad-shouldered, 200-pound dude – but at least my years of DDR addiction have enabled me to somewhat gracefully dance through crowds without much shoulder jostling.

However, my walking speed today isn’t nearly what it was during my first couple years of college. During my academic years, the only apt description for my style of walking was “booking it” – pun intended.

Why? Well, you see, I had this irrational idea that I had to achieve ALL THE THINGS.

do all the things

I’m a pretty goal-oriented person, as you might know, and during my first couple years of college I thought I basically had to achieve everything before I graduated.

In my mind, once I crossed the stage, framed my degree, and got a job, that was it. The buck stopped there.

Of course, I didn’t truly believe that – I knew there was ample opportunity to advance, get promoted, keep learning, etc. I mean, that’s obvious, right? College isn’t the only place to learn and grow… right? Read More…

How I’m Using Twitter To Learn Japanese

Without thinking too hard about it, let your intuitive brain try to convert the following sentence from text into imagined sound:

秋が好きです。この冬は寒いから、好きじゃありません。

Unless you’re Japanese, or one of the few people who have learned it as a second tongue, you probably imagined, well… gibberish.

And you’d be completely justified in doing that. Foreign languages aren’t exactly easy to understand, especially when they’re written using symbols that you don’t know how to pronounce.

On my most recent trip to Japan (this past May), gibberish was mainly what I was still hearing. My Japanese studies in between my first trip and this one had been lackluster, to say the least; I had finally learned all of hiragana, but my grammar and ability to put together sentences was still severely lacking.

As a result, most things people said to me made no sense.

Well, no longer. Ever since returning from my second trip, my resolve to learn Japanese has been incredibly strong. I’ve managed to make time for studying almost every day for the past few months, and since returning I’ve shoved over 130 kanji and over 220 vocabulary words into my brain. My grasp of Japanese grammar is steadily improving as well.

One of the more recent methods of learning I’ve come up with is using Twitter. 

I’ve set up a completely new Twitter account specifically for learning Japanese, and after about a week of using it, I can safely say it’s a very effective tactic for learning any language. Read More…

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