People are unique, with varying strengths, weaknesses, and styles. Just as different people have diverse strategies in life or career that work best with their personalities, individuals also require assorted methods of learning for the content to be absorbed most effectively. When creating a curriculum or educational program, it is important to incorporate elements from each of the three primary learning styles.
3 Types of Learning
Generally speaking, there are three primary categories of learning that instructors and program developers need to be aware of when teaching or creating courses for education. By incorporating elements of all three learning types, content is much more likely to be understood, remembered, and utilized by all learners.
Auditory: The first learning style to be aware of is auditory. Learners who have a preference for auditory learning will usually comprehend information best when it is presented to them in a verbal or spoken form. Because of this, it is important to offer students the option of hearing their course content if at all possible. Ideas for teaching auditory learners include spoken lectures, PowerPoint presentations or other computer based content that reads the material out loud, and classroom discussions. When testing students knowledge, be sure to include at least a few assessments that will be given orally or consider offering the option to have tests read to students when requested.
Visual: Visual learners, as the name suggests, are those students who tend to absorb information best when it is presented to them in a form that they can see. Visual learners tend to write things down as they learn and often perform well when tested or questioned about material they have read. To appeal to the visual learning style, programs should be designed to include items like pictures or images, handouts or computer PowerPoint presentations, and maps, charts, or graphs where applicable. Written evaluations or tests that require reading comprehension are usually the favored method by learners in this category.
Tactile: The tactile style of learning, also often referred to as kinesthetic learning, relies heavily on touch, movement, and physical contact by the student for information retention. Tactile learners are often those individuals who generally retain material best when they are actively involved in doing something, not just hearing about or seeing others do it. Popular methods used to promote the tactile learning style include things like laboratory experiments or other hands on work, on the job style training time, actions or movements associated with concepts, and assignments that allow for the general manipulation of items using touch. For assessment purposes, activity based, or demonstration types of testing should be incorporated to most adequately gauge a tactile learners comprehension of a subject matter or task.
While incorporating all three learning types into a program may take a little extra time and effort, the benefits and results will far outweigh the extra work that is required. Programs that offer elements of the three different learning methods mentioned above not only appeal to more students, but also have a much higher success rate for satisfactory completion.