Previously we’ve discussed what learning styles are, how they are different from multiple intelligences, and how to assess both. Remember, learning styles are how people learn successfully. There are three main types of learning styles – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. It’s important to know how to recognise students’ learning styles and know how to teach each type.
We’ve broken each learning style down into:
- Characteristics – watch for these to see if your students are exhibiting these behaviours. These are clues to their learning style.
- Teaching Strategies – how to adapt your presentations and training sessions to each learning style for maximum effect.
- Learning Strategies – encourage your students to try these strategies when studying information or preparing for an assessment.
Visual learners need to associate ideas, concepts, data and other information with images and techniques.
- Observes rather than talking or acting
- Not very distractible
- Notices details
- Memorizes by seeing graphics or pictures
- Enjoys advance planning
- Struggles with verbal instructions
- Typically has good handwriting and is a good speller
- Seat your visual learners close to the front, where they can see the presenter clearly
- Include meaningful visual aids to support your verbal instruction
- Use colors to cue important information
- Encourage note taking
- Recopy notes while studying. This can be done several times if necessary.
- Visualise the information or how to solve a problem
- Look at the words, visualise the words in your mind, repeat them to yourself.
Auditory learning is a learning style in which a person learns through listening. Auditory learners need to hear what is being said in order to understand and may have difficulty with written instructions.
- Talks to self
- Easily distracted
- Enjoys music, hums or sings often
- Enjoys being read to or listening to audio books
- Struggles with written instructions
- Likes to talk
- Seat auditory learners away from distractions
- Use good expression when speaking- don’t be monotonous!
- Have students repeat important information
- Incorporate songs or catchy phrases into your presentation
- Repeat facts or information aloud while studying
- Explain or teach information to others
- Brainstorm or study aloud with others
- Say words inside your head to remember them
Kinesthetic (also called Tactile) Learning is a learning style in which learning takes place by the student carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration.
- Frequently in motion- shaking legs, drumming fingers, etc.
- Often touches people while talking
- Enjoys solving problems by physically working through them
- Will try new things, is very outgoing
- Reading and spelling not a priority
- Seat them towards the back of the room so their motion does not distract others
- Have frequent movement breaks
- Incorporate role play into your instruction
- Use models and real objects for visual aids and pass them around to the students
- Take frequent breaks when studying to get up and move around
- Pace back and forth while studying
- Eliminate distracting objects from your desk
- Draw information while learning it
How to Teach to All Three Learning Styles
Most likely you will have a good mix of all three learning styles in your class. It is highly encouraged to incorporate teaching methods that will benefit each type of learner. Instead of just orally presenting use role play, audience participation and even music to convey information. Give your students guided notes to fill in the blanks and use visuals in your slides. Have your students reteach the information to their neighbor or a small group of people. Not only will your training session be more interesting, your audience will probably learn better!