Guest Author - Elizabeth Stuttard
If you are a visual spatial learner, then you need to learn how to use your love of color, your ability to visualize, and your ability to draw to help you with your learning in classes which donít provide a lot of pictures, charts, maps and so on to present the content. Distance learning will provide you with the capability to learn in a way which is most conducive to your learning style. On campus classes would be much more difficult to adjust to for you because you do not learn well by listening to lectures. Distance learning, however, allows you the freedom to study your lessons in the way that suits you best. Here are some suggestions to make your learning experience more successful based on your visual spatial learning style.
First, you should organize your studying so that you can get the whole picture of the topic. This is one of your greatest strengths Ė being able to see and understand the whole picture while the rest of us must plod along learning each piece of the picture until we understand how it all goes together. Usually in distance learning the whole course is available from the beginning of the term. That means that you can go to any part of the course to see where it is heading and get that big picture, and then you would be able to go back and study the individual parts to see how they fit in or contribute to that picture.
A second suggestion is to organize your materials using color. For example you could use colored index cards and keep all the notes about the method of some research on green cards, the outcomes on yellow cards and the conclusions reached on orange cards. Similarly your notes for the course could be organized in different colored file folders or at least with different colored labels. You could use highlighters to mark your text for easy identification of important points.
You see patterns everywhere, so try to form the information you are studying into patterns which will help you to remember it. Draw pictures to illustrate your notes in the way that means something to you. Use arrows and other symbols to show that ideas are related to each other in a positive way or a negative way. It was probably a visual spatial learner who began the practice of putting smiley faces into e-mails to show that you are not being too serious about a statement you have made. So draw pictures in and beside your notes, but you can also draw a picture to summarize your topics. Important information such as dates or formulas or names can be added to those pictures for study purposes. Mind maps or concept maps are good tools for you to use since you can add color and pictures to them and they organize the information in a way that is meaningful to you.
Visual spatial learners prefer to use a keyboard rather than writing, so use your computer to write your notes for studying. The computer is also a great tool for finding visual depictions of ideas and information. With the free software that is available, such as open source office programs, you can keep your notes and add pictures to them right in the program you are using. As well there are various mind mapping tools available online and many of them are free. Since you are focussed on ideas rather than the format of your essays, make sure you use the spelling and grammar check before you send them to your instructor.
You have many strengths as a visual spatial learner but traditionally schools have directed their teaching methods to the verbal linguistic learners. This means that you must take the information in whatever form it is provided and change it to a form that is more suitable to your learning style. This is quite easy to do in distance learning courses because you are learning on your own, so you can do what you want with the information to make it meaningful to you. Using some of the suggestions above should help you to be a very successful distance learner.