Did you know that children learn is three different ways? Experts say there are three main learning styles, although there may be some variations and people may use different combinations of these styles at different times or for different subjects. Find out what they are here.
Three of our five senses are used primarily when learning, storing, recalling and retrieving information. This means each of us are either visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners. We have all of these fuctions, but just as we are predominantly left or right brained, we tend to use one modality more than the others and are likely to prefer or be stronger with one method.
What follows is an explanation of each type of learner, to help with identification of the learning style, as well as specific suggestions on how to learn most appropriately through that method. Please note this is not meant as an exhaustive list of characteristics or suggestions.
Visual learners benefit from seeing information and may grow impatient listening for long periods of time. Strategies for visual learners include:
- Use flash cards
- Draw pictures
- Use lots of colour (pens and paper)
- Write things down and read over summaries
- Highlight and underline key points
- Use board games and memory games to create visual patterns.
- Read books together and encourage your child to visualise the story
- Use mind maps
Auditory learners are typically good at absorbing information from spoken words. Strategies that work well for auditory learners include:
- Talking to themselves or to others about what they’re learning
- Repeat the information aloud, even if only to themselves
- Record them reading their notes and let them go over it again and again
- Listen to an audiobook, while following the story in a book
- Sing information, making up silly tunes if necessary (a great one for times tables)
- Limit distracting noises
Kinaesthetic learners prefer to be active while studying and need to move to stay focused. Strategies for kinaesthetic learners include:
- Play with a stress ball or toy while studying
- Chewing gum can aid focus in kinaesthetic learners
- Short, lively study periods are best
- Move around or sit on a gym ball
- Take frequent breaks
- Read aloud and track words on a page with a finger
- Highlight and underline
- Use hands-on activities, art projects, nature walks or acting out stories
Is there a fourth learning style?
There has been some research into the idea of a logical or analytical learner, who learns through exploring patterns and looking for relationships between elements. Strategies for logical learners include:
- Creating story problems based on real life issues
- Look for patterns and sequences
- Makes use of graphs, charts, diagrams or graphs
- Problem recognition/problem solving
- Outline the information to be studied and fill in the gaps with flow charts
- Research more about the topic to be learned, making it more of a research project
- Take field trips to museums, science displays, etc.