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The 4 Learning Styles and How they Can Help Optimize Your Child’s Learning

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Helping your child become aware of the ways that they process information most efficiently can help them become a stronger learner and can boost their educational autonomy.

While the concept of learning styles does not have one concrete model to follow there are four generally accepted styles that are used worldwide that include: visual/spatial, auditory, kinesthetic and reading/writing.

Most students prefer some combination of learning styles which is why it is important to help young people become aware of what is most optimal for them personally.

Self-awareness is one of the greatest tools in the educational toolbox!

Continue reading to learn more about the four styles and the best learning strategies for each.

Visual/Spatial Learners

Can your child easily discern visual objects, are they colour-orientated or can they envision imagery easily?

These are all strengths of visual learners. Visual learners are students who best internalize information when it is presented in a visual way through pictures, charts, diagrams, written direction

s. They have a good spatial sense and can easily organize information from visual graphs or images.

Here are some learning strategies to support a visual a visual student:

  • Colour-code notes, vocabulary words and textbooks

  • Use diagrams, maps and other visual aid to solidify information

  • Make to-do lists to help organize tasks

  • Encourage them to sit in the front of classrooms so they’re able to see everything

  • Write notes in class and then draw concept maps and outlines to organize information

Auditory Learners

Does your child learn prefer to listening to instructions instead of reading them? Are they great with in-class participation?

These are signs that your child is an auditory learner. Auditory learners learn best when information is reinforced by sound. They are good with following verbal direction and thrive when explaining ideas out loud. These students learn more effectively from listening in class as opposed to reading written notes.

Here are some strategies to improve learning for auditory students:

  • Record class lectures with instructor’s permission to listen back to later

  • Read key concepts and ideas aloud to solidify information

  • Teach a concept back to someone to help with understanding

  • Play background music while studying to help with concentration

  • Watch educational tutorials and explanations videos when confused with a subject

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners or “tactile” learners are students who learn most effectively through experiencing and taking a physically active role in the learning process.

Traditional lecture-based lessons may prove difficult for these students as they are more inclined to actively move their body when consolidating concepts into their memories.

Tips to improve studying for kinesthetic learners are:

  • Studying while moving such as standing up, walking around, bouncing a ball or riding a stationary bike

  • Use flashcards for quizzing and allow them to personally flip through the cards

  • Have the student teach the concept back to you while allowing them to engage in movement

  • Take breaks between long period of studying when sitting for a long time

Reading and Writing Learners

Reading and writing learners are students who learn more effectively by reading and writing information.

They retain the most information by reading the textbook and writing notes.

Here are some learning tips to help reading and writing learners:

  • Encourage them to re-write their notes after class

  • Use the Cornell method of note-taking to write comments and questions in note margins

  • Have them write out key concepts and ideas in their own words

  • Re-reading information as review (with a particular focus on high-yield topics)

  • Compose short explanation for diagrams, charts, graphs

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