We all perceive the world in different ways, and as a result, we all learn differently. Understanding the many learning styles may significantly influence how teachers interact with their students, organize group projects, and customize individual learning. Without recognizing and respecting these varied learning methods, teachers may find a few children trailing behind their classmates, partly because their learning style has not been engaged. Parents need to understand their child’s learning styles to assist them in succeeding in school. Recognizing how children learn allows parents to equip them with the resources they require to be effective learners. Students should also know their own unique learning style(s) as it provides insight into their strengths, shortcomings, and habits. There are four main learning types to be aware of and most people are a combination of two or three of them depending on their age and experience as well as the tasks at hand.
1. Visual Learners
Most visual learners enjoy books and puzzles, are constantly doodling, and often struggle with spoken instructions and misinterpreting words. A student with an affinity for visual learning prefers to observe drawings, diagrams, written statements, and the like. This is also known as a “spatial” learning style because this refers to an individual’s capacity to receive, evaluate, and comprehend visual information in their surroundings. Visual Learners are your doodlers, your list makers, and your note-takers. For teachers working with these students, the whiteboard is one of your greatest resources. Educators can allow students to illustrate diagrams, write steps, or draw examples related to the topic being taught. Visually appealing handouts and presentations, symbol and color-coded resources, and written directions are preferred by Visual Learners. These learners may also require extra time to digest the visual clues and assimilate the material. Students who predominantly learn through sight may benefit from using grid notebooks, graphic organizers, concept maps, flashcards with pictures and diagrams, tables and graphs, timelines, post-its to add info to notes (check out the new transparent sticky notes!), and different colored pens and highlighters. These methods are tailored to the strengths of Visual Learners and can improve their learning process.
2. Auditory Learners
You can spot Auditory Learners because they usually enjoy telling jokes, they easily remember words and lyrics, and they are good at rhyming, but they may have a hard time following written instructions, they have sloppy writing, and they struggle to write essays. Auditory Learners learn more effectively when the subject matter is reinforced by sound. These students prefer to listen to a lecture rather than read written notes. They frequently utilize their voices to emphasize new concepts and ideas. This type of learner likes to read aloud to themselves. They are not scared to speak out in class and are excellent at expressing themselves verbally. They may also read more slowly and frequently repeat aloud what a teacher instructs them. Because Auditory Learners may have difficulty staying silent for lengthy periods, teachers can get them interested in the lecture by asking them to repeat concepts and posing open-ended questions to which they can verbally respond. Educators can also initiate group conversations so that the auditory and verbal processors can adequately absorb and comprehend the information offered to them. Supplementing content with movies and audio recordings can also help this type of learner. Students who learn visually can try these strategies: leaving spaces in notes for later recall and filling in, summarizing diagrams with spoken words, talking aloud through information or steps, working in quiet areas, using diction tools for writing, using audio tools for listening, and incorporating mnemonics, rhymes, and songs for memorization. There are many accessible strategies to meet the needs of Visual Learners.
3. Kinesthetic Learners
Someone may be a Kinesthetic Learner if he/she likes to work with his/her hands, is physically active, has difficulty sitting still, and is not an avid reader. Kinesthetic Learners, also known as “Tactile Learners,” learn by doing or feeling. They prefer acting out events as well as touching and handling objects. These students may find it challenging to sit quietly and thus may need to take more frequent breaks when studying. The most effective approach for teachers to assist these students in learning is to get them active. Educators can instruct students to play out a scene from a book or a lesson they are teaching. These learners can be engaged by including movement with tasks, such as pacing to aid memory. Abstract thoughts and challenging topics become easier to comprehend for Kinesthetic Learners if they can physically sense what they are studying. Students who are Tactile Learners should try following with a finger or pencil when reading, correlating physical movement with ideas and terms, teaching someone else what was learned, and “fidgeting” while studying. The key is to not suppress the physical movement but to embrace it.
4. Reading/Writing Learners
Reading and Writing Learners are easy to identify because they love reading and writing in all forms and they prefer lists, handouts, and books. This type of learner, according to the VARK Modalities hypothesis published by Fleming and Mills in 1992, prefers to learn through written words. While there is some overlap with visual learning, these learners are driven to express themselves through reading articles or books, writing in journals, looking up terms in dictionaries, and surfing the internet for almost anything. Because most of the conventional educational system focuses on writing essays, conducting research, and reading books, this is perhaps the simplest of the four learning types to cater to. Educators ought to allow time for these students to absorb knowledge through the written word, as well as an opportunity for them to write their ideas down on paper. Students who learn predominantly through reading and writing should try writing clear notes in the margins, using colored pens and highlighters to focus on key information, list out steps and tasks, read silently, summarize visuals with written words, and place sticky notes as reminders. These are great methods to enhance the strengths of a Reading/Writing Learner.
Embrace All Styles of Learning
Understanding these various learning styles does not end in the classroom. Identifying how people learn best may significantly impact their ability to connect with the topics being taught. Identifying your students’ learning styles as visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and/or reading/writing and integrating strategies to appeal to these learning styles will benefit the whole classroom. Allowing students to access material in various ways will boost their academic confidence, improve student cohesion, and increase engagement and comprehension.
E.R.E. Can Help!
Curious about your learning style and which strategies best fit your needs? Educate. Radiate. Elevate. can help! K-12 low-income BIPOC students in Illinois and Texas can nominate themselves or be nominated by someone else to receive free tutoring through our nonprofit program. Our high-quality instruction is intertwined with teaching essential learning and life skills, all with the goal of empowering youth and uplifting underprivileged communities. We must work together to achieve our societal objectives of educating equitably, radiating success, and elevating society. Our funding comes from donations from individuals like you! Your generous contribution will provide children from less fortunate backgrounds with the opportunity to succeed in school and beyond. Donate today!