Many people who struggle with learning feel they are alone in their challenges. This is a false assumption. Learning challenges are far more common than many people believe. Some people naturally learn to compensate, keeping their struggles private. However, there are often more efficient and better methods to develop learning skills for children and adults.
- The first step is to acknowledge that a challenge exists. This can be hard for children and adults. In children, learning challenges can be masked as behavior problems. Both adults and children often learn inefficient compensation methods that allow coping, but never efficient productive learning methods to develop. Identifying learning problems can help both children and adults identify specific learning challenges and work to find more productive learning methods.
- Children and adults can benefit from testing to determine where strengths and weaknesses exist in an individual's learning style. In order to create a targeted learning program, it is best when you understand where to start. Testing for children is available through the public schools. Adults can often request testing at local colleges and through technical training programs. In some cases, medical facilities will do testing for individuals who request it.
- Once an individual understands their learning style, strengths and weaknesses it is time to develop learning skills. Students of all ages need to learn how to learn. Required material for a course is standard for all students. However, when a student possesses the knowledge of the best way to learn information, it provides control of how to master the information. Memorization is often a challenging skill for students. There are visual, auditory and kinesthetic methods to help students memorize material. Students that are aware of their learning style have the ability to choose activities that will best activate their memory.
- Note taking is another traditional skill that is challenging for students of any age. Adults and children can learn strategies that best help them with note taking. Effective note taking skills can be taught to adults and children. Templates are available that lead students through the note taking process. Students who struggle with auditory skills can often get permission to tape lessons that can be reviewed for later learning. This allows students to focus on class participation, later taking notes at a more leisurely pace after the class is over.
- Students often need to develop better writing skills. Graphic organizers can help students with prewriting skills. Developing keyboarding skills allows learners to spend less time with data entry and more time to focus on writing and editing. It can be easier to overcome frustration in editing and revising when the text is easier to read and revise.
Students need to review strengths and weaknesses to develop learning skills. Understanding learning styles can help plan specific learning activities that activate prior knowledge and build learning paths. Students should continue to try new methods to find the most effective learning strategies.