What’s their learning style?
Figuring out how students best learn can unlock their true potential
Styles can be broken down into three main categories – auditory, visual and tactile.
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency has created an online quiz, with 20 questions meant to help determine which learning style is best.
What They Mean
Visual learners do best with reading material or pictures. Their memory involves creating a mental picture of the lesson. Auditory learners do better when they hear details or speak them out loud, rather than through reading material. Tactile learners are hands-on, preferring to touch, build, move or create something in order to best understand it.
In some cases, changes might be as simple as sitting as near as possible to the front of the class for visual learners. Encourage flash cards as a memory aid for visualizing what is heard and read. They should write everything down, adapt a color-coding system and consider drawing pictures.
They do best on assignments involving written essays and research, but may need more time to absorb the course material. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency also recommends that these students stay current with their eye exams.
For auditory learners, sitting close to the front is also recommended, to aid in hearing everything that’s shared. They should study by reading out loud when possible. Recordings of assignments, key material and other homework are helpful.
For tactile learners, related art projects may stoke memory, as can tracing words to aid with spelling and recall. They should take regular breaks to walk or do other physical activities during study or reading times. For a section on Shakespeare, for example, they may retain more by acting out a scene. They should be recommended to physically type assignments, notes and homework into a laptop or other computer device.
How It Works
Once a child’s learning style has been decided upon, these methods can be suggested and developed in order to play to their strengths. With a properly crafted lesson or homework plan, they could begin to learn and retain at a much higher rate. Class size, funding and other constraints may make it difficult to implement every strategy at school, unlike adapting new habits at home. But tailoring a specific approach to their unique learning style should open new doors.