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What are the Types of Learning Styles?

written by: •edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 12/12/2011

This article discusses the styles of learning and how they are identified. It also includes hints and tips for teaching or homeschooling the visual learner. You'll find advice and suggestions for various subjects to ensure your visual learner is engaged.

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    Not everyone learns the same way. The standard of writing on a chalkboard while lecturing does not work for all children (nor does it work for all adults). Instead, the best way to learn is to understand the style one learns best with, and tailor information to that style for maximum information retention. Below is a list of the different learning styles that have been identified.

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    Auditory Learners

    Auditory learners learn by hearing. These are the folks who lectures benefit. They also learn by being read to, and by discussing what has been read. They will also be more likely to be distracted by sounds. An auditory learner might learn math tables best by listening to a CD with math songs. They will learn spelling words best by saying them aloud whereas a visual learner may need to see the word in order to learn how to spell it.

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    Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

    These are the folks who best learn by doing. The kinesthetic learner needs hands-on experience to "get it." These are the children math manipulative's were made for. By handling the blocks, the child can feel how the components work together in order to make up the addition problem. Kinesthetic learners are more likely to remember science facts they gathered through experiments, and history facts they learned through completing a history project.

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    Visual Learners

    To put it simply, visual learners learn by seeing. They do best with textbooks that have graphs, photographs, and charts. The visual learner might need to read it himself in order to grasp the meaning of a passage. Videos can be good for a visual learner, as he can see what's going on and specific examples of the subject he's trying to learn. Visual learners might not remember the name of an important figure, but they will remember the face of an important figure. We'll take a look at how to approach various subjects with visual learners in the next few sections.

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    Mathematics

    The visual learner is more likely to succeed with programs such as Singapore Math. When looking for a visual-learner friendly curriculum here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Graphic Examples - the more visual representations the book includes, the easier it will be for your student to catch on. Times tables as opposed to times lists, pictures of three apples and five apples, bar charts for solving word problems -- all of these things will be a hit for the visual learner.
    • You will demonstrate new material by drawing. How do you show a child 1/3=2/6? You draw a pie and divide it into three. Then, you divide it into sixths. Shade in 1/3 of the pie.
    • Your child may need to draw new concepts in order to "get it." Have patience for this process.
    • Flash Cards are an excellent tool for the visual learner.
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    Language Arts

    The visual learner will enjoy phonics with pictures. The old fashioned A is for apple will help them to associate the sounds of the alphabet with familiar objects. Other tips for visual learners include:

    • Practicing writing words for spelling lists.
    • Flash cards for vocabulary and foreign languages.
    • Drawing a picture dictionary for vocabulary and foreign languages.
    • Illustrating book reports.
    • Watching a movie after reading the book.
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    History and Science

    With history and science, concepts and events can really be brought alive for the visual learner. Ideas to help the visual learner with history and science include:

    • Watching videos.
    • Taking trips to science and history museums.
    • Coloring pages.
    • Illustrated books on specific topics.
    • Diagrams and maps.