Learning style is an individual’s unique approach to learning based on strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Differentiate visual, aural and kinesthetic learners and explain how trainers can accommodate them.
Visual learners prefer to be shown a lesson through graphs, diagrams, and illustrations. They rely on what the instructor is doing and often sit in the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions. The best form of communication is providing worksheets, white boarding, and leveraging phrases such as, “Do you see how this works?”
Auditory Learners Auditory learners listen carefully to all sounds associated with the lesson. “Tell me,” is their motto. They will pay close attention to the sound of your voice and all of its subtle messages, and they will actively participate in discussions. You can best communicate with them by speaking clearly, asking questions, and using phrases like, “How does that sound to you?”
Tactile Learners/Kinethetic Tactile learners need to physically do something to understand it. Their motto is “Let me do it.” They trust their feelings and emotions about what they’re learning and how you’re teaching it. Tactile learners are those students who will get up and assist instructors with role playing in the classroom.
Auditory learners tend to benefit most from traditional teaching techniques. Many teachers use a lecture-style forum, presenting information by talking to their students. Regulating voice tone, inflection, and body language will help all students maintain interest and attention. Auditory learners succeed when directions are read aloud, speeches are required, or information is presented and requested verbally.
Some students rely upon a visual learning style: “Show me and I’ll understand.” Visual learners benefit from diagrams, charts, pictures, films, and written directions. These students will value to-do lists, assignment logs, and written notes. Many of these techniques, however, also benefit kinesthetic learners.
Most of the school population excels through kinesthetic means: touching, feeling, experiencing the material at hand. “Children enter kindergarten as kinesthetic and tactual learners, moving and touching everything as they learn. By second or third grade, some students have become visual learners. During the late elementary years some students, primarily females, become auditory learners. Yet, many adults, especially males, maintain kinesthetic and tactual strengths throughout their lives.”(Teaching Secondary Students Through Their Individual Learning Styles, Rita Stafford and Kenneth J. Dunn; Allyn and Bacon, 1993) Kinesthetic learners are most successful when totally engaged with the learning activity. They acquire information fastest when participating in a science lab, drama presentation, skit, field trip, dance, or other active activity. Because of the high numbers of kinesthetic learners, education is shifting toward a more hands-on approach; manipulatives and other “props” are incorporated into almost every school subject, from physical education to language arts. Hands-on teaching techniques are gaining recognition because they address the challenging needs of kinesthetic learners, as well as the diverse needs of auditory and visual learners.