Find out what your learning style is to get the most out of CPD, writes Jonathan Seifman.
I’m fully aware that when it comes to mandatory education, a good chunk of lawyers out there are looking to just “tick the box”. Fair enough.
However, if you’re going to spend time and money anyway, might as well try to get some level of bang for your buck.
And so I got thinking about this a bit more. In our surveys so far on mandatory education, we’ve found that the two most important factors lawyers consider when purchasing a course are Topic and Speaker. Makes sense.
What about looking at this a different way? Rather than purely focus on the outward factors of a course (such as the speaker, topic, venue etc), what about also considering how you as an individual learn best?
Admittedly, I’m no expert on this, but in my research I’ve found that there are four primary learning styles: visual, auditory, read-write and kinaesthetic. People learn using a variety of these methods, but one is usually dominant.
So, which type of learner are you?
Visual learners learn by seeing: writing notes, looking at diagrams, illustrations, flowcharts and handouts and by painting mental pictures of issues. Visual learners tend to speak quickly and have a tendency to interrupt.
Auditory learners learn by listening: having things explained to them, discussions, talking things through and listening to what other people have to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances.
Read-write learners prefer information to be displayed in writing and learn by traditional classroom methods of (you guessed it) reading and writing. Read-write learners often work independently and quietly and take exhaustive notes in class.
Kinaesthetic learners learn through moving, doing and touching. Kinaesthetic learners use all senses to engage in learning and learn by doing and solving real-life problems.
Which type are you?
If you want a more comprehensive analysis of your learning style, look at the skills you use while learning: what helps you absorb the most amount of information? What keeps you going with a topic for longer?
Don’t worry if you don’t fall neatly into one particular learning style: most people use a combination of methods and the key is to find out what works best for you and when, rather than trying to force yourself into one box.
So, when “ticking the box” to do your CLE/CPD choices, might be worth considering not just what the topic is and who the speaker is, but also what type of learner you are. At least you’ll have a better chance of getting value out of the choice you make and the money you’re spending.
Jonathan Seifman is the CEO of Bulletpoints.com.au, a free online service that pulls together MCLE/CPD courses from a huge selection of course providers.
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