Characteristics of Learning Styles

Characteristics of Auditory Learners

They talk about what to do, about the pros and cons of a situation. They indicate emotion through the tone, pitch, and volume of their voices. They enjoy listening but cannot wait to get a chance to talk. They tend toward long and repetitive descriptions. They like hearing themselves and others talk.

They tend to remember names but forget faces and are easily distracted by sounds. They enjoy reading dialogue and plays and dislike lengthy narratives and descriptions. Auditory learners benefit from oral instruction, either from the teacher or from themselves. They prefer to hear or recite information and benefit from auditory repetition.

  • Like to talk
  • Talk to self
  • Lose concentration easily
  • Prefer spoken directions over written directions
  • Enjoy music
  • Read with whispering lip movements
  • Remember names
  • Sing
  • Cannot concentrate when noisy
  • Extroverted
  • Like listening
  • Prefer lecture and discussion
  • Prefer verbal praise from teachers

Tools for Auditory Learners

  • Record lectures for repeated listening
  • Use rhymes to help memorize
  • Say study material (record and listen repeatedly for review)
  • Listen to recordings of study material while driving to work or school
  • Read aloud
  • Discuss the material
  • Listen carefully
  • Sound out words
  • Say words in syllables
  • Talk through problems; paraphrase ideas about new concepts
  • Paraphrase directions
  • Talk about illustrations and diagrams in texts
  • With new processes, talk about what to do, how to do it and why it's done that way

Auditory teachers prefer ...

  • Using their voices to explain things
  • Recordings, conversations, and phone calls
  • Discussion in class
  • Students to discuss issues among themselves, work together, and contribute their ideas
  • Clever use of speech; making a point well
  • Argument, debate and discussion
  • Seminars, group presentations, student interaction, role plays and dialogue
  • To use the words, “explain, describe, discuss, and state” in written exam questions

Methods to Engage Auditory Learners

  • Lecture
  • Utilize sound during lectures
  • Use beats, rhymes or songs to reinforce information
  • Use mnemonic devices
  • Ask questions during class and allow students to give verbal responses
  • Allow students to engage in small group conversation during class
  • Use aural cues to alert students to important information
  • Provide verbal summary at the end of each class
  • Think, Pair, Share

Characteristics of Kinesthetic Learners

They try things out, touch, feel and manipulate objects. Body tension is a good indication of their emotions. They gesture when speaking, are poor listeners, stand very close when speaking or listening, and quickly lose interest in long discourse.

They remember best what has been done, not what they have seen or talked about. They prefer direct involvement in what they are learning.  They are distractible and find it difficult to pay attention to auditory or visual presentations.  Rarely an avid reader, they may fidget frequently while handling a book. Often poor spellers, they need to write down words to determine if they "feel" right.

  • Move around a lot
  • Prefer not to sit still
  • Move a lot while studying
  • Like to participate in learning
  • Like to do things rather than read about them
  • Do not prefer reading
  • Do not spell well
  • Enjoy problem solving by doing
  • Like to try new things
  • Talk with hands or gestures
  • Select clothes according to comfort
  • Like to touch objects

Tools for Kinesthetic Learners

  • Walk while studying
  • Move and lecture the walls
  • Do things as you say them
  • Practice by repeating motions
  • Dance as you study
  • Write words; use markers, pens, pencils to see if they “feel right”
  • When memorizing, use finger to write on the table or in the air
  • Associate a feeling with information
  • Stretch
  • Write on a white board in order to use gross muscle movement
  • Use the computer
  • Use hands-on activities with objects that can be touched
  • Study in short time periods; get up and walk around in between
  • Make study tools to hold
  • Use flash cards; separate into "know" and "don't know" piles
  • Use plastic letters and magnetic boards for new vocabulary
  • Write and rewrite to commit to memory

Kinesthetic teachers prefer …

  • Using real life examples to explain things
  • Guest lecturers, case studies, practical work, laboratories
  • Exhibits, samples, working models, products and people that bring reality to the classroom
  • Students to use all sensory modes to present their ideas
  • Clever use of quotations, metaphors, examples and analogies in written work
  • Demonstrations and open book examinations
  • To use the words, “give examples, apply, and demonstrate” in written exam questions

Methods to Engage Kinesthetic Learners

  • Give breaks when possible and have students move around during those breaks
  • Provide hands-on learning tools when possible (models, clay, blocks, etc.)
  • Use the outdoors for learning opportunities when possible
  • Teach concepts through games and projects
  • Have students answer questions during class on white board
  • Use a dance, play, or role play activities to reinforce information
  • Think, Pair, Share

Characteristics of Visual Learners

They look around and examine the situation. They may stare when angry and beam when happy. Facial expression is a good indicator of emotion in the visual learner. They think in pictures and detail and have vivid imaginations. When extensive listening is required, they may be quiet and become impatient. Neat in appearance, they may dress in the same manner all the time.

They have greater immediate recall of words that are presented visually. Visual learners like to take notes. Relatively unaware of sounds, they can be distracted by visual disorder or movement. They solve problems deliberately, planning in advance and organizing their thoughts by writing them down. They like to read descriptions and narratives.

  • Thoughts wander during lectures
  • Observant but may miss some of what is said
  • Well organized
  • Like to read and show intense concentration while reading
  • Good speller
  • Remember better by seeing charts, diagrams, etc.
  • Concentrate well
  • Need to see directions; not hear them
  • Good handwriting
  • Good memory for faces but forget names
  • Plan ahead
  • Not really talkative
  • Attention to details

Tools for Visual Learners

  • Use mind pictures or mind maps
  • Take notes
  • Use "clue" words for recalling
  • Use colored highlighters to color code texts and notes
  • Use maps, charts, diagrams, and lists
  • Watch audiovisuals
  • Take photographs
  • Use study cards or flashcards
  • Use notebooks
  • Watch instructor's mouth and face
  • Use visual chains or mnemonics
  • Watch TV
  • See parts of words
  • Write down directions

Visual word teachers prefer …

  • Using written text to explain things
  • Email
  • To give handouts and expect the class to have read widely and well
  • Clever use of words as well as the use of interesting words
  • Argument and discussion in written form
  • To place important words on the board or overhead
  • Putting words in some order, such as using priorities or categories
  • Lists of points and things in vertical and left-aligned arrangements
  • Texts that are dense with text, summaries, and abstracts
  • Not to use multiple choice questions, unless the correct answer depends on discriminating between word meanings
  • To use the words, “define, develop the case for, justify and analyze” in written exam questions

Visual picture teachers prefer …

  • Using visuals to explain things
  • Web pages that have strong graphics, hot boxes, etc.
  • Diagrams, slides, charts, graphs, arrows, circles and boxes
  • Complex ideas to be shown first in a diagrammatic model
  • Important words and ideas to be placed on the board so that they are spatially interesting rather than left-aligned arrangements.
  • Texts that are dense with diagrams, graphics, color and white space
  • Videos
  • To use the words, “illustrate, show, outline, label, link and draw a distinction between” in written exam questions
  • Their students to visualize and see the point

 Methods to Engage Visual Learners

  • Write out directions
  • Use visuals when teaching lessons, such as pictures, charts, diagrams, maps and outlines
  • Physically demonstrate tasks
  • Organize information using color codes; keep color codes consistent
  • Give students the opportunity to write notes during class
  • Use visual cues to alert students to important information
  • Provide sample questions for students to write out the answers or have students use diagrams to answer questions
  • Provide written summary of lesson at the end of notes/lecture presentation
  • Think, Pair, Share


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