Why Learning Style, Health, and Balance are important for Successful Learning

Determine learning styles for accelerated health care training program

Concorde takes great pride in its health care training programs. One of the greatest advantages we offer prospective students - getting you into a rewarding health care career as quickly and effectively as possible.

There are different challenges and stresses that come with health care training, however. You might complete the program in a shorter period of time. But that doesn't mean you're learning less. In fact, you're learning the same amount of material as in a traditional program, just in a more compact - and intense - format.

Handling such an intense course load is manageable. In fact, it's very doable, as proven by the hordes of students that successfully complete courses and programs each and every term. It simply requires some tools and strategies that, when adhered to, make successfully completing health care training not only possible but probable.

Have a Plan for Health Care Training

"This is a topic I know all too well as I am back in school myself," said Josh Alvarez, Director of Student Affairs at Concordes campus in Miramar, Fla. "In order to stay healthy during an accelerated program, a student must have a plan. If not, they are certain to feel overwhelmed."

What does Alvarez mean by a plan? Four simple steps can make the difference between success and failure.

  • Create a schedule - Set aside a good chunk of time to study. This is super important for those who have a family, Alvarez said.
  • Set short-term goals for yourself... like week to week - "Each week, I set a goal to accomplish an amount of work," Alvarez said. "I then pace myself to achieve that goal by week's end. I do not procrastinate and cram."
  • Detach - Steps 1 and 2 should allow for some much-needed "you" time. This is important to keep your bearings and avoid feeling consumed with school.
  • Starbucks is your friend - "If you like coffee as much as I do, Starbucks is a great place to study," he said. "I try and get there around 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday, order some coffee, and get to work. It's a nice combination of study time and you time."

Keeping your Health in mind

Zane Wilson, MBA, CPC, Director of Student Affairs at Concordes campus in Portland, Ore., disagreed with indulging in caffeinated beverages, however.

"There is typically a crash that takes place after these types of beverages," he said.

But, he does agree on making a plan. Time management and maintaining a life balance are of the utmost importance. Wilson also encourages speaking up when feeling overwhelmed by stress. Get advice and counsel from those you trust. And, always feel free to lean on your Student Affairs department.

It's as simple as that. Well, it might not be quite that simple, but the point that a little organization can go a long way toward taking the stress off should be given due consideration.

Balancing Work with Health Care Programs

There are a few tricks of the trade when it comes to balancing work with health care training programs. We sought out the advice from two of our resident experts - Concorde directors of student affairs - to help with some tips on how to navigate accelerated learning successfully.

Here's what they had to impart.

"Balancing work and home life is a challenge in and of itself," said Liane Pardo-Mansfield, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde's campus in Orlando, Fla. "Throw in accelerated learning, and you could feel as if you are on the fast track to a meltdown."

"But, it doesn't have to be that way."

Pardo-Mansfield said health care programs can be manageable and very rewarding by sticking to three things - preparing, planning and evaluating. Make sure your supervisor at work is aware you are in school, she said. Ideally, fill him/her in while researching schools and programs of interest to be able to select the best match between the program requirements and those of your job. Find out what schedule modifications are possible at work and then match it with the school/program that best fits.

"Plan for the whole program, not just the first week or first mod/term," Pardo-Mansfield said. "Let your supervisor know from the outset what your schedule will be for the class and externship."

Request days off far in advance, she said, for mandatory meetings and even for days before a big exam or project so you have time to study. Schedule out activities, meetings and other obligations for children as well. Try to identify any possible conflicts with work and/or school.

"The more you can project and plan for in advance, the less stressful it will be when it arises," she said. "You'll also be in a better position when the unexpected occurs because you'll be able to focus your energy on that new issue and not all of them at once."

Tips for Balancing work with your health care program

Lori Liebman, MBA, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde's campus in Garden Grove, Calif., gave these ideas to help be successful at both work and school.

  • Acknowledge that the path will be difficult, but that you are strong and can handle it. Put out constant reminders of what you are working toward.
  • Schedule everything! Make appointments with yourself for even the most mundane tasks and keep them. This includes "downtime," too.
  • Enlist the help of family, friends, and co-workers. This includes children, significant others, your boss, everyone within the sphere of influence.
  • Remember this dual life is only temporary. Once you are done with school and have a great new job, you will look back with pride and realize that most things are possible with a plan.

Include your Support Network in your Plan

Pardo-Mansfield said it's important to include your support network in this planning process so they can be prepared as well.

"Lastly, continually evaluate your plans and adjust as needed," she said. "If working nights is making it harder to keep up with your homework, and you have an option to work on the weekend, make the adjustment and see if it helps. Or, perhaps use your breaks at work to do homework."

"Remember, it's a short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain."

Why is knowing your Learning Style Important?

Before you enter a health care training program, like the ones offered at Concorde, you will need to decide if it is the best educational fit for you.

You particularly need to consider whether you would be more suited for taking online classes or if you should enroll in hands-on health care programs.

Thinking back to your prior schooling can help you understand how you best remember information when it comes time to take a quiz or an exam.

In addition, you can take a short questionnaire to help you determine what is your learning style.

Four Primary Learning Styles

When you take an online quiz to help you see how you best learn, you probably will notice an explanation of that learning style. Below you will see more details of four basic learning styles just as you would discover upon taking the online questionnaire.

According to the Vark, a Guide to Learning Styles, you probably learn one of these four ways:

1. Using visual tools (Visual Learning Style) -If you prefer seeing pictures where words normally would be used, this visual learning style probably best suits you.

It usually involves the use of charts, graphs, diagrams, maps, or any visual symbols that relay messages without words. This typically does not include still photographs, video tutorials, or slideshow presentations with words.

2. Hearing spoken messages (Aural/Auditory Learning Style) -This learning style involves the use of listening to lectures either live or recorded.

It also usually includes speaking to oneself to "think out loud" versus sorting out thoughts before speaking. Written communication for this type of learner usually consists of abbreviated words and short chats, not long conversations.

3. Reading and writing (Read/Write Learning Style) -Usually this includes any manuals, slide shows, video tutorials, and photographs that do not require symbols in place of words.

The focus here is on the written word and reading rather than visual symbols. Online and paper books, dictionaries, thesauruses, and other text materials are preferred by this kind of learner.

4. Hands-on or experiential training (Kinesthetic Learning Style) - This one typically involves a more interactive experience on-site. However, it also could include simulations of a real environment.

The key here to encourage you to use senses of touch, hearing or taste to actively connect with what you are studying if you prefer experiential education over online learning.

Some online software and cloud-based classes classify as kinesthetic resources, and 52 percent of 1,000 adults surveyed said they prefer this hands-on learning style.

Mixed Learning Styles

If you take a learning style questionnaire, you might notice that you have more than one preferred learning style.

In this case, you could benefit from a variety of learning materials whether taking online or offline classes. Having multiple learning preferences could further help you succeed when enrolled in a health care training program since we don't rely on just one type.

Have a well-oiled plan, execute the strategy and take a little time for you away from school, and you'll find yourself through your health care training program quickly and successfully and well on your way to the rewarding health care career for which you've always dreamed of.

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