Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 31, 2020

5 Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner

5 Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner

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 will not be wrong to say that we all are avid learners.

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. Out of these learning styles, in this article, we will discuss kinesthetic learning.

What is Kinesthetic Learning?

Kinesthetic learning, in simple terms, is learning by doing.[2] So 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, cricket, or basketball, you can’t learn to play them by reading a book or by looking at other people playing.

Advertising

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

Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner

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 the best setting 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’re 5 characteristics of a knesthetic learner:

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.

But 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 process is an opportunity for them to try new 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.

Advertising

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.

3. They Are Unlikely to Forget What They Have Learned

Kinesthetic learners 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 had heard in the news a month ago.

So it 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 more than one person is involved.

Advertising

The main focus of kinesthetic learners is to be physically and mentally invested in the learning process. And 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.

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 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.

Advertising

Make Learning Fun

Apart from the classroom scenario, kinesthetic learners also face troubles 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.

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. And most importantly, you should never stop exploring the world around you. For kinesthetic learners, the best learning resource is your surrounding itself!

More About Effective Learning

Featured photo credit: Kat Stokes via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

13 Common Life Problems And How To Fix Them How Does Setting Goals Lead to Success? The Lifehack Show: Standing Out in Today’s Job Market with Dr. Julia Ivy Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 5 Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Each of Them)

Trending in Learning

1 7 Characteristics of a Smart Auditory Learner 2 How Do Memory Vitamins Work? (And the Best Brain Supplements) 3 9 Free Language Learning Apps That Are Fun to Use 4 13 Most Practical Skills to Learn Now (For a Better You This Year) 5 How to Learn Fast And Master Any Skill You Want

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on June 22, 2020

7 Characteristics of a Smart Auditory Learner

7 Characteristics of a Smart Auditory Learner

I spent five years as a middle and high school teacher, and I would often hear people talking about learning styles. “Betty is a visual learner. Sam is kinesthetic. Emma is an auditory learner.”

I hadn’t read any research about learning styles at the time, but on the face of it, it makes sense. Some people seem to learn better when they see things, others when they’re active, and some when they hear things. I know that I really struggle when someone spells a word aloud. I have no idea what word they’re spelling. I’ve always just made the excuse that I’m a visual learner and will need them to write it down for me. But is there any truth to learning styles?

Before we delve into the characteristics of a smart auditory learner, let’s take a step back and explore what research says about learning styles more generally.

Debunking Learning Styles

In the 1990s, a New Zealand school inspector named Neil Fleming[1] came up with a questionnaire to measure people’s preferred learning style. Now called the VARK questionnaire, it’s still used today to discern whether people are Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, or Kinesthetic learners.

Fleming’s learning styles theory gained popularity over the decades, but no studies have confirmed its legitimacy. In a study by Polly Husmann and Valerie Dean O’Loughlin[2], they found that people who used their preferred learning style did not see any improvements in learning outcomes. In short, there was no correlation between learning style and actual learning.

Another study by Abby R. Knoll, Hajime Otani, Reid L. Skeel, and K. Roger Van Horn[3] also found that learning style had no relationship with recall. Participants who preferred visual learning did not recall images they saw any better than words they heard.

Advertising

There’s no evidence that learning styles help people learn or recall. Instead, they should be thought of as a learning preference. I prefer when people write things down for me, but there’s no evidence that this improves my recall.

7 Characteristics of a Smart Auditory Learner

Having a preference for auditory learning means you gravitate toward verbal communication. Audiobooks and lectures might be your cup of tea instead of the charts and graphs of a visual learner.

So what if you think you’re an auditory learner? Let’s say you have a knack for processing audio communication and can close your eyes and pick up all the important details of a lecture or audiobook. The following list is for you. Here are 7 characteristics of smart auditory learners—people who use their auditory preference to their advantage.

1. They Take Learning Styles With a Grain of Salt

This bears repeating. There is no evidence that people’s learning styles impact their learning, so a smart auditory learner definitely takes learning styles with a grain of salt.

Think of it as a preference. Smart auditory learners know they prefer audiobooks and hearing things out loud, so there’s no harm leaning into that preference.

Just don’t assume it’s going to improve your test scores.

Advertising

2. They Get Rid of Distractions

Just because you’re an auditory learner doesn’t mean you can sift through lots of auditory inputs at once. No matter your learning preference, make sure you put effort into limiting distractions.

An auditory learner might struggle to study while listening to music or have difficulty working with the TV on because they’re so receptive to auditory information. Therefore, you should find a quiet place to learn, so you can focus all your energy on whatever it is you’re trying to retain.

3. They Match Learning Task With Learning Style

The real secret to improving your retention and recall is to match the learning task with the learning style. A smart auditory learner knows the best time to rely on auditory learning. They don’t always fall back on listening. Instead, they strategize the best approach for each individual learning challenge.

For example, I might know that I favor visual learning, but if I need to memorize my lines in a play, I might be better served recording the other characters’ lines, so I can practice saying my lines when I hear my cues.

Maybe I’m more kinesthetic. That doesn’t mean that I have to move to learn. Instead, I have to be strategic about when and how I add movement to my learning process. It might make sense for me to memorize countries or states by drawing a giant map and running to the right spot when someone yells out that geographic location. However, it doesn’t make much sense to dance around while I’m reading Foucault. The learning style should be in service of whatever it is that’s being learned.

Instead of catering to people’s learning preferences, we should be matching the learning style with the task at hand. Ask yourself, “What’s the best style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, reading/writing) for this particular learning task?”

Advertising

4. They Use Their Voice

Auditory learners might need to read things aloud or listen to audiobooks instead of silently reading. Adding your voice can help turn reading/writing into an auditory exercise.

Get creative with it. If you consider yourself to be an auditory learner, think of different ways to add an audio element to your learning. Sing it. Yell it. Turn it into a poem. Just don’t get stuck in the reading/writing learning style when you prefer to be hearing and listening.

5. They Practice Listening

Smart auditory learners don’t take listening for granted. Just because you prefer auditory learning doesn’t mean you’re great at it. Instead, smart auditory learners take their preference and improve it over time.

Practice your listening skills. Give people your undivided attention, clarify what you’ve just heard, and challenge yourself to be as active and present a listener as possible.

Asking clarifying questions and repeating back what you’ve just heard can help you assess how accurate your listening is[4]. You should also transfer what you’ve heard to other learning styles. Write it down or draw it as pictures, charts, and graphs. That brings us to the next characteristic of smart auditory learners.

6. They Use All Learning Styles

Smart auditory learners use all the learning styles. They may have a preference for listening, but using all types of inputs helps improve retention and recall.

Advertising

If you’re studying for an exam, don’t just record your notes as audio or listen to online lectures. Use flashcards, read your notes out loud, quiz yourself, create an active game that requires you to move around, and teach the concepts to your roommate. This gets as many parts of your brain and body involved in the learning as possible, which increases your odds of retaining the information and acing the exam.

7. They Reflect on What Works and What Doesn’t

Smart auditory learners are also reflective and self-aware learners. After you try a learning strategy, assess and reflect on how it went. Did you retain as much information as you’d hoped? Build off your successes and change strategies when a learning style isn’t working for you.

Smart auditory learning is really just smart learning. Create a game plan that uses multiple, appropriate learning styles. Then, follow through by removing distractions and studying your heart out. After assessing how much you’ve retained, reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Then, refine your game plan for more success next time.

Final Thoughts

It would be magical if learning styles were a silver bullet for learning. I’d love to be able to say I’m a visual learner and then be able to recall every single piece of information just by seeing it represented visually. Unfortunately, that’s not at all how learning styles work.

Learning is complex and messy. Just because we prefer one learning style doesn’t mean it helps us learn better. What we really need to do is experiment with all the learning styles and try to match the right learning styles with each specific task.

Knowing your learning style is important. It’s good to know how you prefer to receive information. Just don’t stop there. Use your preference for auditory learning strategically and when it makes sense to do so.

More Tips for When You’re an Auditory Learner

Featured photo credit: Blaz Erzetic via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next