I really enjoy reading – but I’m very, very bad at it.

My brain just doesn’t like it; I can’t stay focused, I can’t process the information and ultimately, I can’t learn from it. For many years I tried to persevere with reading – as friends and colleagues recommended great books to read, I’d lock myself in a quiet room, stare at the pages and try to take it all in.

There was no great surprise that it just wasn’t going to happen for me. I was wasting my money on buying the books as well as the far more valuable asset of my time, just dwindling away. Whether it was Einstein or not who said it, the below statement rang true…

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein (Maybe)

In early 2017, I enrolled myself onto a Business course with a local training provider and as part of their on-boarding process undertook a Learning Styles Assessment. Being the sceptic that I am, I immediately considered this assessment to be bullshit but decided it best to listen to the professionals and continue on anyway.

After 15 minutes ticking off my answers, it turned out I was an ‘Auditory Learner’ – who knew? Not to be deterred by the science of Learning, I put this piece of paper straight into the bin at the end of the session and continued on my merry way to inefficiency and time wasting.

So, what changed?

In the middle of last year, I discovered Podcasts. (I know, how does someone get to 22 years old in 2017 and only just discover Podcasts?) I listened to a few different short talks on various subjects and thought to myself – “this is cool, I should do this more often.”

The real light bulb moment came the next day, when I was talking about the content of these Podcasts to colleague and realised that I could actually recite parts of the talks pretty much word for word. I realised that this information had actually stuck in my brain – I had managed to decode it and could now not only use it, but pass it on to others – great!

Tail between my legs, I popped onto the internet and found some great learning styles resources and did a few different tests which all produced the same results – ‘Auditory Learner!’

From there on out, I searched online to look for some different resources to help me learn, ones which were going to allow me to hear the topics I wanted to get into my head. I’ve tested out a lot of different websites/apps, but my 3 go to places for getting new content now are:

  • CastBox  – A great Podcast app which I use on Android to get some great learning, culture and comedy content. My 3 favourite podcasts at the moment are – The GaryVee Audio Experience (needs no introduction I’m sure,) Under the Skin with Russell Brand (Maybe for my sins, but I have always liked Russell’s comedy and now very much enjoy the topics he covers) and My Dad Wrote a Porno (In no way educational, but extremely funny listening.)
  • Udemy – A great app for getting courses on a wide range of topics. Personally I’ve explored everything from Digital Marketing to Business Productivity on Udemy, with Jeremy Aschenbrenner’s Business Analysis Fundamentals where I’m currently sat.
  • SkillShare – Another app which, like Udemy, is geared towards Professional Development. SkillShare doesn’t sell individual courses instead your membership unlocks a range of courses for you to watch whenever and wherever you find yourself.

For me, using resources like these has unlocked personal development in a way I just couldn’t achieve through books alone. I find my attention span, enjoyment and efficiency is improved when engaging the Audtiory side of my brain. Don’t get me wrong, I still read books (still quite badly) but I use them to supplement my preferred styles.

To answer my own question – my brain speaks the language of sound. If I need to learn something new or communicate with others, I’m either going to get my headphones in, pick up the phone or simply come and talk to you face-to-face.

The guys at The Fizzle Show have a great Podcast where they take a fun look at Learning Styles and how to consider them when building media online – check it out below:

Try it for yourself….

For anyone out there that would like to explore how best they can learn, there are some great online Learning Styles Assessments. An easy one to use and complete comes from How-To-Study and comprises of 30 simple, multiple choice questions.

Check it out –> Here

Now a huge disclaimer from me – I am definitely not an Education specialist. As any good blogger should, I have researched this topic and found some conflicting research that the common Learning Styles thought has been debunked. All I can say is, identifying my own learning style has enabled me to successfully take in, process and grow as a result of the information I receive through Auditory learning.

Dr. Tesia Marshik is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and gives a great TEDx talk below on alternative view on the Learning Styles theory.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear from those of you reading this about your learning experiences:

  • Do you have a preferred learning style?
  • What are your favourite resources for learning new and exciting topics?
  • What are you currently learning about or enjoying following at the moment?