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Last Updated on January 27, 2021

5 Kinesthetic Learner Characteristics and How They Learn Best

5 Kinesthetic Learner Characteristics and How They Learn Best
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Learning has always been a part of human nature. As toddlers, we all learn to crawl, walk, and talk; we then attend schools and colleges to develop new skills. It would not be wrong to say that we all are avid learners, and we each have a learning style preference. Here, the focus will be on kinesthetic learner characteristics.

Learning, in itself, is a beneficial activity. The better a person is at learning new skills or concepts, the more successful they can be in a particular field. Many experts have tried to understand the mechanism behind how our brain learns new things. They have developed various models of learning styles, among which the VARK model[1] is quite popular.

VARK stands for visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. According to this theory, we learn things either by watching, listening, reading/writing, or by doing. Those who learn best by doing are known as kinesthetic learners.

What Is Kinesthetic Learning?

Kinesthetic learning, in simple terms, is learning by doing.[2] A kinesthetic learner is a type of learner who learns best by actively participating in the learning process.

Such learners need to be engaged in some activity in order to learn effectively. The activity can be physical or mental. For example, if a kinesthetic learner wants to learn English vocabulary, they may do so by playing crosswords instead of picking up a dictionary.

Whether you are a kinesthetic learner or not, you can definitely relate to the process of kinesthetic learning.

Remember, as a child, when you learned to play a sport by actually playing it? Be it football, tennis, or basketball, you can’t learn to play them by reading a book or by looking at other people playing.

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You must play the game to learn it properly. This is nothing but a type of kinesthetic learning.

Kinesthetic Learner Characteristics

Kinesthetic learners, as the name suggests, are people who learn best when they perform some relevant actions.[3] As such, a classroom lecture may not be well suited for them. They prefer to learn through activity, so sitting still and listening to others will be difficult for them.

Subjects that are heavily focused on theoretical aspects may not be the best choice for kinesthetic learners. They will do much better in fields that require muscle movement and practice. For example, a kinesthetic learner will more likely succeed as a painter or musician than as a theoretical physicist.

Here are five kinesthetic learner characteristics to help you understand how this preference affects learning:

1. They Never Get Bored of Learning

The process of learning is always enjoyable for kinesthetic learners because they are personally involved in it. Sitting in a classroom, hearing the professor’s lectures, or watching a documentary is what we call passive learning. We call it so because it doesn’t require active participation from the learner. They only need to focus on their sense of vision or hearing.

However, kinesthetic learners are active learners. They turn the learning process into an activity, like a fun game or hands-on experience. That is why they never get bored with their style of learning. In fact, every learning experience is an opportunity for them to try new mental or physical activities.

2. They Learn Skills Better Than Concepts

Facts and concepts can be learned by reading and listening, but skills cannot be acquired without practice. That is why kinesthetic learners are more suited for skill-based activities rather than concept-based subjects.

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It does not imply that such people are always bad at conceptual subjects like science or math. It just means that learning skills will be easier for them than grasping a concept. The process of practicing and improving skills resonates better with their style of learning.

However, they can still learn conceptual topics as well, as long as they find a way to create some sort of activity regarding the concepts and integrate the other learning styles in a way that works for them.

3. They Are Unlikely to Forget What They Have Learned

One of the kinesthetic learner characteristics is that they usually don’t forget what they have learned. Our brain can store information, as well as memories. Memories are easier to remember and recall as compared to information. We can clearly remember memories from years ago, but we easily forget what we heard on the news a month ago.

This means that actions (things we do/did) are easier to remember than sensory information (things we see/hear/read). Since kinesthetic learners learn through actions, they won’t forget what they have learned any time soon.

4. They Are Better at Innovating Than Implementing

People can be divided into two categories: those who innovate and those who implement. The innovators are people who give birth to new concepts, discoveries, and inventions. The implementers are those who make use of the existing concepts, ideas, theories, and information.

Kinesthetic learners are curious by nature, and because of their preference for learning through action, they love to experiment. As such, they show more interest in gaining new information and experience. They may enjoy working in areas of research or engineering.

5. They Make Learning Fun for Those Around Them

Kinesthetic learners really enjoy learning in groups. In fact, it boosts their learning process when there are more people involved. There are more opportunities for engaging in interesting learning activities when others are participating.

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The main focus of kinesthetic learners is to be physically and mentally invested in the learning process. When they are in a group, they will want to include everyone in the process. So, people enjoy learning with kinesthetic learners even if they themselves aren’t one.

Struggles Kinesthetic Learners Face (And How to Tackle Them)

The main problem faced by kinesthetic learners is that they don’t fit well into the formal education style. Kids need to adapt themselves to classroom learning. Even adults have to sit through office meetings, where issues are discussed orally or visually. A kinesthetic learner may struggle in such scenarios.

Another challenge for such learners is choosing the right subjects and career paths. As mentioned above, they should pick areas that involve the right mix of actions and learning, such as sports, music, research, or engineering in order to make the most of the kinesthetic learner characteristics.

However, just because a person is a kinesthetic learner doesn’t mean they can just avoid formal education altogether. If teachers or parents are aware that the child is a kinesthetic learner, it is their responsibility to help the child. For example, teachers can conduct some activities in the classroom from time to time. It’s even better if the activity is related to the subjects that are taught.

How can kinesthetic learners get over these challenges?

More Practice, Fewer Theories

Adult kinesthetic learners must choose a field of study that is based more on practice, and less on theories.

During the lectures, even if they feel bored or don’t understand what is being taught, they can make small notes about the important topics that were discussed. Later on, they can figure out creative ways to understand the topics in their notes. They can even ask the professors for assistance to find practical ways of learning what was discussed in lectures.

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Make Learning Fun

Apart from the classroom scenario, kinesthetic learners also face problems when learning by themselves. Unlike other learners, they can’t just sit and open a book and start going through it. They must incorporate some fun techniques into their learning time to make it an active and fun process.

If you’re a kinesthetic learner and want to learn more effectively, make your own flashcards. That way, you can turn the learning process into an enjoyable game. It will help you remember your notes faster, as well.

Practice or Enact What You’ve Learned Right Away

Another technique is that after every few minutes of studying the contents of a book or learning something new, spend the next few minutes practicing or enacting what you have learned. Basically, it’s like alternating between reading and doing some activity related to what you’ve read.

For example, you may have learned some new Spanish vocabularies or phrases for a few minutes, and then do a role play oral practice with yourself, and record yourself speaking these vocabularies or phrases. Alternating the style of learning in this way will be very effective in learning concepts, as well as memorizing facts.

The Bottom Line

Like every style of learning, kinesthetic learning has its pros and cons. It’s up to the learner to make the best use of their positive traits while overcoming their shortcomings.

In the end, what matters most is that you shouldn’t worry about what you cannot do, and fully focus on what you do best. Most importantly, you should never stop exploring the world around you. For kinesthetic learners, the best learning resource is your surroundings.

More Tips on Effective Learning

Featured photo credit: Kat Stokes via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done
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Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.) And that’s basically it.

Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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