Three Types of Learning Styles
Chances are that you and I do not learn the same way. For instance, I know that I learn visually; I need to see things in order to understand. You, however, may need to hear things in order to comprehend. By providing examples of different learning styles, you can see what types of learners you may have in your classroom. There are three different styles of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/tactile.
The visual learners need to see things in order to understand. They can do this by reading, seeing information on a chalkboard or white board, looking at pictures, graphs, or illustrations. Visual learners like to take notes, and tend to be very organized. These students like to sit in the front of the room where they can see the information the best. They can also visualize information in their head in order to remember something. A great way to explain the visual type of learner is that they like to see what they are learning. To address this type of learner in a classroom, use a lot of visual stimuli. Most teachers like to write on the board; this will help the visual learner a lot. Note taking, illustrations, and handouts are also some things that you can do to help the visual learner succeed in your classroom.
Auditory learners learn best by hearing information. These students may often read aloud to themselves in order to process and understand information. Sometimes they also talk to themselves because saying something out loud helps them remember it and process it.
If teachers write information on the board, they should also say it out loud to address the auditory learner in the classroom, as well. Teachers can ask these students to read information back to them, such as directions or notes. Lectures and discussions are also very beneficial for the auditory learner. Books on tape or auditory programs also assist them; whenever they can listen and read along it is more likely that they will retain information.
Kinesthetic/tactile learners need to do things to understand. They tend to be very active and need to take frequent breaks. When talking they talk with their hands. They need to move around a lot; the bodily movement helps stimulate their brains and allows them to focus and concentrate.
To address this type of learner in the classroom, field trips and using manipulatives are very beneficial for the kinesthetic/tactile learner. They need to be able to move around a lot in order for them to learn as well, so providing a chance to move around the classroom during instruction is beneficial. Using learning centers accomplishes this while also maintaining structure in the classroom. Another option is to allow students to move to a new seat for collaborative learning projects. This type of learner needs to do as many hands-on activities as possible. Teachers need to let this type of learner experience as much as possible with their sense of touch in order to learn well.
As teachers, we need to use these examples of different learning styles to create lesson plans that address all of the learners in our classrooms. The best way to start is to evaluate how you teach. Think about your teaching style and what type of learner you already address. Once that is figured out, you can then work on incorporating the other types of learning styles into your daily lessons. In today’s classrooms we tend to get caught up in covering material and do not allow enough time for projects or hands-on activities. Teachers need to figure out ways to incorporate that in order to meet the needs of the kinesthetic/tactile learners, sometimes they are forgotten. The key is to balance all three learning styles into every lesson that you teach. It will not be easy, but the success of your students depends on it.