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Auditory, Visual or Tactile Learners? Tips for Teachers

written by: Jessica Cook • edited by: Patricia Gable • updated: 2/8/2012

Students learn differently, this we all know. There are three different learning modalities that students may have. Read on to learn more.

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    Chances are that you and I learn differently. This is because we all have different learning modalities. There are three different learning modalities: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic/tactile. You may learn via one modality or you may learn primarily one way with a little bit of another modality. In order to figure out how you learn, there are a variety of learning modality tests online that you can take. If you don’t have the time to take a test, here are some explanations of the different learning modalities.

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    Auditory Learner

    Do you like hearing information being presented to you? Do you talk or hum to yourself? If you answered yes, then chances are you are an auditory learner. Auditory learners learn the best by hearing things. Videos and audio recordings are great ways for this type of learner to learn. This type of learner will sit where they can hear information, but may not always look like they are paying attention. Reading out loud is another strategy for this type of learner. Have students repeat things back to you, or read directions. Auditory learners will learn from other students reading out loud. When studying, this type of learner will study out loud.

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    Visual Learner

    Visual learners need to see information in order to understand it. They like to take lots of notes and make detailed lists. The visual learner will highlight information in bright colors when taking notes in order to make it stand out. They sit in the front of the classroom so they can see the information from the nearest seat. They may also try to picture things in their head to remember something. The visual learner also likes to see pictures, charts, diagrams, and illustrations.

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    Tactile Learner

    Kinesthetic/tactile learners need to experience things hands-on. They learn well from lab experiments, projects, and field trips. This is the most active type of learning modality. They tend to fidget a lot and need to take frequent breaks. In the classroom, make sure they sit away from any distractions as they can be very easily distracted. This type of learner may try to put something together by experimenting instead of looking at the pictures or reading directions. Kinesthetic/tactile learners rely on what they can directly experience.

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    In the Classroom

    Now that you know about the different types of learning modalities, you can try adapting your teaching style to meet the needs of all learners. Most teachers are good at presenting information visually and auditorily, however, sometimes we can forget about the hands-on learner. Teachers need to figure out how to incorporate this learning style into their teaching. As you teach lessons, think of how you can get the students up and moving and doing projects in order for them to learn.

    These learning modalities need to be addressed every day as you teach your lessons. As you plan lessons, think how you can adapt this lesson to meet the needs of the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Though you may not teach to every learning style every day, try to change things up in your classroom in order to meet the needs of all of your learners each week.