Not everyone learns the same way. By understanding how your mind processes and retains information, you can maximize your home study experience.

Educators typically divide learning techniques into three categories: visual, auditory and tactile. 

  • Visual learners are those who have the greatest learning experience by using visual aides they can see.
  • An auditory learner is a person who processes information most effectively by hearing the instruction, most often through lectures.
  • Tactile learners learn best hands on. They learn most effectively through physical touch and demonstrations.

If you don’t take the time to know what kind of learner you are, you are only shortchanging yourself.

This isn’t just about taking a test and moving on to your next subject. It’s about mastering your skills as a massage therapist, so you can have the greatest impact on your clients. By not only knowing how you most effectively learn to earn better test scores and greater knowledge, you can also use your learning techniques to choose what home study course works best for you.

Visual learners

If you’re a visual learner, you learn best when you see educational material that is printed out with diagrams, graphics and other visual presentations. Remember, in a home study course, your home or office is your classroom and you have the ability to adjust your surroundings as you see fit to maximize your learning experience.

For studying purposes, here are a few tips you might want to follow:

  • Home study courses that feature videos, animation and live demonstrations can often work best.
  • By studying in a quiet place or through the use earplugs, you can maximize your visual learning processes.
  • Create charts, outlines, graphs, lists, timelines or diagrams to map out important concepts you need to retain. After you create these, you can use them in the future as reference material in your massage practice.
  • Use color-coded sticky notes or highlighters to illuminate important passages in your notes and textbooks.
  • Look at the pictures, illustrations and charts in a text before you begin reading.
  • Read the descriptions of home study courses to see what instruction styles are used. That way, you can target which instructors use more visual aides than others in their lectures.
  • Take detailed notes on everything you’re taught, and then organize those notes to study for exams. Flash cards with concepts, terminology and diagrams can also help you process what is being taught.

As always, make sure you check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for continuing education credits.

–Jeremy Maready