5 Ways To Find A Student’s Optimal Learning Style

learning stylesLearning is a fundamental skill that everyone possesses. Babies learn how to survive, as well as critical language skills, and movement from the moment they are born. Parents can help to enhance their child’s learning process, and help their children develop skills that they will use for a lifetime.

1. Research Learning Styles

The first step is to become an expert on learning styles. There are many websites online that describe the three main styles of learning. They include:

  • Auditory: This encompasses children that learn and memorize things by listening to them being spoken. By repeating the information themselves, it becomes solidified in their memory. These kids are great at memorizing songs, poems, and other spoken material.
  • Kinesthetic/Tactile: Children who are tactile learners must manipulate the problem themselves in order to come up with a solution. These kids are science fair project winners, and thrive on doing experiments. When they see the information being used in a practical setting, they can remember how the information is used.
  • Visual: Visual learners must see the information, and write it down themselves in order to store it in their memory. Whether this means seeing a sentence structure mapped out or solving a math problem on the chalk board, a visual is required in order to comprehend the information. These learners learn best by taking notes, watching videos, and reading.

2. Observe

Now that you are aware of the different learning styles and what each of them entails, you need to determine which style best fits your child. Keep in mind that your child may exhibit a few different learning styles, and is not limited to learning in just one dimension. Here are a few things to watch for when looking for your child’s learning style:

  • Find your child’s interests. Kids that enjoy watching movies or writing poetry may be visual learners. Those that love to listen to music and dance may be auditory learners. If you child is into physical movement and sports, then they may be tactile learners.
  • Watch to see how your child prefers to express themselves. While visual learners have dramatic facial expressions, auditory learners may use words to project their feelings. Tactile learners will often use body language to get their point across.
  • Notice how your child tends to solve their problems. Tactile learners will find a hands-on solution. When faced with a problem, visual learners will look around for a possible solution. Auditory learners, on the other hand, will want to discuss the potential solutions before making a decision on which one to choose.

gamified-learning3. Schooling Methods

Whether you are deciding on a good school curriculum for your child, or you simply want to supplement your child’s education at home, knowing the learning style of your child can help you to decide where to start. If you child is a kinesthetic learner, they may be better off being placed in a Montessori School. Their practices include hands-on, real-world experiences. Traditional schooling is adequate for visual and auditory learners.

4. Create Customized Activities

When strategizing lesson plans for your child, think of something that will involve their particular learning style. For instance, if your child is a visual learner, you may want to help them create a poster involving the subject matter, or write an article about it. Auditory learners might love reading aloud, singing, answering questions, and having a conversation discussing the topic at hand. Tactile learners will want to use their bodies by dancing, or being involved in a hands-on project or experiment. Whichever way your child learns, you can customize the perfect opportunity for them to grow.

5. Broaden Their Strengths, Strengthen Their Weaknesses

Your child must understand that not everyone will always cater to their learning style, and there will be times when they will have to compromise with the learning style that is being utilized. For example, not every professor at the university will engage the class in group activities, or have open discussions about the subject matter. Teach your child what to do in order to strengthen the learning styles that they may be weak in.

Although some learning is innate, teaching your child how to manipulate their learning abilities, and maximize their knowledge will put them at an advantage. Learning how to approach new situations and obtain knowledge is an essential skill that you can teach your child.

7 Comments

  1. James Webb

    April 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    http://thinkneuroscience.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/the-myth-of-learning-styles/
    Is worth a read too, we really must base our teaching on supported criteria.

  2. Patrick Boulware

    April 17, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I think that knowing your own learning style will make you successful in life, whether you’re in school or at work. If you don’t like to pay attention, or take notes then you’re not an auditory learner. Know what kind of learner you are will make or break you. Colleges list what type of class it is when you’re registering at the beginning of the semester. Being in a huge class if you’re a hands on learner won’t make you successful unless you go out of the way to meet with your teacher

    • Richard Smith

      April 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Patrick, If you read the research, you will find that your assumptions regarding the academic benefits of knowing your own learning style are not supported. I recommend that if students want to be successful in college that they try studying in a systematic manner and pay attention to their professors rather than spend their time in class playing on their computers.

  3. Michael Britt

    April 17, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I know that the concept of learning styles sounds “right”. It sounds intuitively like it ought to be so (that students have different styles of learning), but it just doesn’t hold up when you test it out. We may all believe that we have one of the “styles” listed above, but the best we could call it is a “preference”: you don’t necessarily learn better that way and you wouldn’t score higher on a test if you learned the material that way as opposed to some other way, but you prefer to learn it that way (to listen for example, or to use images or drawings).

    The best advice is to tailor the teaching method to the topic and the goals of the instruction. What are you trying to accomplish? What do you want students to get out of the learning experience? If you want them for example, to be able to create something, or DO something, then your approach would have to include a “kinesthetic” technique. If you want them to just “understand” something, then a lecture is probably fine, but perhaps a lecture with images might be good too.

    The bottom line is that teachers shouldn’t spend time trying to figure out a students “learning style” and then create lessons for different students in these different ways. Instead, examine your instructional goal and create lessons – with variety and engagement – that will help all students reach that goal.

  4. Bob

    April 17, 2013 at 11:32 am

    There is plenty of published research that refutes the concept of learning styles. The publication should check it out before perpetuating these ideas.

  5. Richard Smith

    April 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    There is no research that indicates that teaching to learning styles has any positive effect on student academic achievement. In fact, there is no real evidence that the various learning styles usually discussed even exist. Encouraging, and even requiring, teachers to teach to their students’ personal “learning styles”has been terrible waste of teacher time because of the amount of work it takes to create learning style “appropriate” lesson plans. It also causes teacher anxiety as they strive to meet the learning style requirement. Accordingly, the Edudemic editors should not perpetuate the myth of the benefit of teaching to learning styles. The editors should absolutely not encourage teachers to take their students’ learning styles into consideration when preparing lessons. To make amends, the editors should publish articles that convey that the message that the benefit of teaching to learning styles is not supported by research.

  6. Dr. Angad Singh

    April 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Important points for good reading-learning process for any one.