By: Dinia Quesada
When people take information in through sensory channels that are called modalities (the visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic / tactile), they normally tend to favor one of them over the others. So, this occurs because it is through their preferred sensory channel that they learn the most. Moreover, learners reflect the style that fits them best in the speechthey use, and respond better to others’ communication when it is expressed in their favorite modality. For this reason, a teacher has to plan a class with activities that can reach the different learning styles. Then, to focus on the similarities and differences of each learning style, information about how frequent each modality appears in a X population, what abilities learners have, the way eachof them learn best and some suggestions for learners to improve their learning styles is presented in the lines below Olsen (1992).
Frequency of the Different Learning Styles in an X Population
First of all, it is important to clarify that the different learning styles do not occur in isolation. This means, each individual possesses the three modalities but at different levels. However, onlyone of the sensory channels is going to dominate.
Studies done by experts in the field had shown that the visual learning style is the most common to the majority of learners. It is present at 43%. Following the visual style is the kinesthetic learning style with 37% of frequency. And in the last position is the auditory learning style for which the study revealed that only 20% of thepopulation had it as its preferred modality, Olsen (1992).
What Learners can and cannot do!
Visual learners can remember or store information by recording images in their heads like if they were running a movie. For them, it is easier to remember graphs, illustrations, and seeing new things on the board, in books and in films. For kinesthetic or auditory learners these practices are not effective.For example, kinesthetic learners function better with experiences because they can remember bodily sensations and respond better to internal bodily feeling or their tactile sense. And in contrast to this, is the case of auditory learners. They are totally different from the other two styles because they take in information through sounds. This means that for them activities with pictures ormanipulating objects to experience will not work because their memory is stimulated by changes in vocal tone, pitch and pacing. When they remember, it is like if the4y replayed a tape recorder with original tones and dialogue, Olsen (1992).
The Ways Individuals Learn Best
a. What they like to do.
Most Visual Learners like to look at books, pictures, newspapers, magazines rather than T.V. They wouldrather read written information on a subject than hear a lecture. They have a good eye for details. They tend to remember where they put things and have good memory for faces and places. They also like to make lists.
For Kinesthetic Learners the same practices do not work. Kinesthetic people want to touch and feel everything. Moreover, they enjoy small group discussions and projects. They loveto explore their environments and they are in constant motion. They are often coordinated and good in sports.
Finally, for auditory learners the process of learning is different. These individuals like to socialize, tell jokes and stories. They are good at remembering names and words to popular songs. They prefer things to be explained aloud because they would rather hear an explanation of howto do something than try to follow a diagram or written instructions, Olsen (1992).
b. The Learning Environment
On one hand, the learning environment needs to provide visual learners with written directions, visual demonstrations, and visual aids such as flash cards, lists, diagrams, charts, pictures, film and semantic maps. New concepts need to be introduced through imagery, metaphor,...