7 Different Learning Styles: How to Engage Your Learner
If your child is school age or approaching it, you may notice that they prefer learning one way over another. Don’t stress trying to put your child into a “learning style” box. No learning style is better than another. Most emerging learners are like people, better when they are a collaboration of many different styles and ideas. You may find some children have a more dominant style, while others have a dominant style that varies depending on the activity. Observe your child in play by themselves and with others; you may start to notice a natural preference.
There are seven main styles of learning: Visual, Aural, Verbal, Logical, Social, and Solitary. It is important to understand learning styles and how to better engage your child. You can work with your child in their preferred method for some learning, then try combining others ways to help learn from another approach. Below we’ve broken down what each one means and different ways to engage and challenge your emergent learner.
1. Type: Spatial or Visual
Definition: Is believed to be the most common of learning styles. One learns by sight.
Ways to engage: Color, drawing, work on writing pictures to accommodate learning. Mind maps are useful learning tools. As well as replacing words with pictures to help associate the idea with an image. When taking notes or reading, use different colors and highlight key points.
Study Tools: Graphic Organizers and Mind Maps are great tools to help visualize a topic that is being taught. Start with the key idea in the middle and brainstorm ideas/feelings that are provoked through learning about that topic. Graphing results, creating outlines, and using flashcards may help this learner.
2. Type: Aural or Auditory
Definition: One learns by listening.
Ways to engage: Use background music to help one study. Find music that helps you focus and clear your head. Talk about problems and issues and work through them verbally. An aural learner may also talk to themselves while learning. May enjoy music lessons.
Study Tools: Mnemonic devices, rhymes, or rhythms can help an aural learner memorize and categorize new ideas. Playing musical instruments, creating their own songs, or using music while studying may interest these learners.
3. Type: Verbal or Linguistic
Definition: One learns by speech and writing.
Ways to engage: Both speaking and writing skills are strong so use these to promote learning. Strong use of vocabulary. Story time or reading aloud can be excellent for young verbal learners. Dramatic story reading can help engage young learners.
Study Tools: Role playing, narratives, or the act of oral story telling may engage these learners. Record lectures or even oneself speaking and listen again later to facilitate learning. Creating crossword puzzles or poems can also be a fun activity.
4. Type: Physical or Kinesthetic
Definition: One learns through the sense of touch.
Ways to engage: Focus on the sensation that learning gives you. Describe how you feel about the idea you are learning about. Writing and drawing are both physical activities. One may talk with their hands. Exercise or physical activity may help one focus better before studying. Incorporate using hands into learning.
Study Tools: Sensory boxes can be used to engage young learners. Role play to practice skills or behaviors. Encourage experiments or activities that involve movement while learning. Making models or using blocks is another activity physical learners will enjoy.
5. Type: Logical
Definition: One learns through math, reasoning, and systems.
Ways to engage: This type of learner aims to understand the reasoning behind the skill/topic. Create lists to help organize and focus on the big picture. May enjoy toys that have a system, strategy, or math involved. Wants to understand how things work. Patterns, groupings, counting, organizing.
Study Tools: Young learners may enjoy working with patterns, grouping, and counting. Math skills would be dominant. Try breaking down the how’s and why’s into groups to help facilitate writing. Creating or studying maps, deciphering codes, or creating patterns are good activities for logical learners.
6. Type: Social
Definition: Interpersonal, one learns best in groups or working with others.
Ways to engage: Encourage social learners to play and grow with other students. This type of learner will enjoy group projects. Using study groups to bounce ideas off each other will facilitate learning. Encourage active play with a social learner.
Study Tools: Role playing and study groups can be used to share ideas. Engage your student by talking to them about what they are learning. Have these learners interview others or participate in discussions to further learning.
7. Type: Solitary
Definition: Interpersonal, one prefers to work alone or self study.
Ways to engage: Allow this type of learner to think independently. Observe them while they play and study; offer them help, but don’t be overbearing. May enjoy reading and studying in a quiet environment alone.
Study Tools: Find an interpersonal motivator – why is this topic important to him/her, how will it affect them. Create a personal journal to write about personal experiences.
Use these as guidelines to gauge what type of learner you have. Encourage your child to learn in many different mechanisms. Start young to help your child grow as a powerful life-long lover of learning.
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Ashley lives in North Carolina, with her husband, 4 year old little girl and infant son. She has dreamed of being a SAHM since she was a little girl and now enjoys living out this dream by making everyday adventures with her two tiny sidekicks. She loves yoga, fitness, dark chocolate, and wine. She’s an organizer of playdates, preschool happenings, and girls night outs. She’s an encourager of making messes, finding passions, and dreaming the impossible.