Learning is a complex group of skills that allows humans to acquire new concepts and methods for use in everyday life. All of the senses are involved in the learning experience, as well as internal brain chemistry. Scientific research involving learning has demonstrated that individuals may lean more heavily on one sense, such as vision, rather than on hearing, and that other learners may rely on movement or spatial concepts in order to absorb new information. The research continues, hoping to find the best ways to help young children, and even adults, to utilize their individual learning strengths for the best results in acquiring new knowledge.
About Learning Styles
Teachers learn about the three basic learning styles—visual, auditory and kinetic—when learning how to teach. Their goal is to achieve balanced lesson plans that can appeal to all types of learners, with concepts explained on the chalkboard, spoken out loud and, when practical, manipulating objects or acting out concepts in a movement-oriented way. People tend to use all three ways for learning, but many depend on one method more than the others to retain new information.
The Visual Learner
The visual learner uses their eyes to both take in and remember new information. Visual learners often sit at the front of the room so that they can get a good view of chalkboard information. They often take copious notes. They may close their eyes when attempting to remember a particular point or create a mental image. They prefer instructional language that is rich in imagery and written exercises. Colorful illustrations and presentations make a big impact with these learners. They often prefer to have visual information separated from auditory or kinetic methods.
The Auditory Learner
Auditory learners attack information a bit differently. They may not need to be close to the chalkboard or A/V screen to absorb information. Often, they may not appear to be paying attention, though they are keenly aware of every word being said. They may talk to themselves when bored or when trying to remember concepts to be learned. They benefit from lessons that require them to read aloud. The voice is a magnetic instrument to auditory learners, and any method that uses sound to instill knowledge is sure to get their attention.
Which Type of Learning Is Better?
Though it is said that visual learners get A’s, auditory learners get B’s and kinetic learners get C’s, no current research supports this theory. The best approach may be broad-based presentation that incorporates several learning styles may be the best way to engage a classroom, with additional work emphasizing individual strengths to help reinforce the coursework.