Advertising
Advertising

Published on January 7, 2021

How To Learn Effectively With Kinesthetic Learning Style

How To Learn Effectively With Kinesthetic Learning Style

My daughter is always on the go. She’s not one of those children who sit still for hours musing over a toy or a book. Nope. She’s much more likely to be jumping off the sofa like some kind of WWE wrestler or running back and forth, pushing herself off the walls—also like some kind of WWE wrestler. So, instead of trying to force her to sit still and learn her letters, I try to use activities for people with kinesthetic learning styles to make learning better suited for her current developmental stage.

The 4 Learning Styles

You’ve probably heard about learning styles by now. Maybe someone claimed that they were a visual learner, or a teacher dubbed you an auditory learner. Learning styles began in the 1990s when New Zealander Neil Fleming created a questionnaire to assess how people preferred to learn new information. This questionnaire is known as the VARK and is still used to determine people’s learning styles today.

There are four main learning styles according to Fleming’s VARK questionnaire:

  • Visual – Visual learners like to see new information. They prefer charts, graphs, and films over reading or hearing information—think images over sounds, movements, or written words.
  • Auditory or Aural – Auditory learners prefer to hear new information. They tend to be drawn to audiobooks and music.
  • Reading/Writing – Reading/writing learners prefer to do exactly that—read and write. They focus well when reading new information and readily process information by taking notes.
  • Kinesthetic – Kinesthetic learners are drawn to movement. They tend to be out of their seats figuring out new information spatially and physically.

Problem With Fleming’s Learning Styles

Because we’ve had nearly thirty years to study the efficacy of Fleming’s learning styles, we now know that learning styles are only a preference. Using your preferred learning style does not actually improve learning outcomes. That means if you prefer visual inputs, charts and graphs may be more comfortable for you, but using them doesn’t help you learn more.

A better way to think about learning styles is as learning preferences, but if you want to boost your learning, you should focus more on matching the learning style with the task at hand.

For example, I struggle with auditory information. When someone spells something aloud, I have a tough time processing what they’re spelling. However, I’ve had success with auditory input when I’m memorizing lines for a play or learning the lyrics of a song. Instead of saying that I’m a reading/writing learner or a visual learner, I know that my learning style depends on what it is I’m trying to learn.

What Are Kinesthetic Learning Styles?

Kinesthetic learning is embodied, active, and tactile. Instead of listening to a lecture or reading a book, the kinesthetic learning style involves moving through space. Even if you consider yourself more of a visual, auditory, or reading/writing learner, kinesthetic learning techniques can help you energize and memorize new information.

Advertising

1. Energize

Kinesthetic learning techniques are a great way to wake up and get the blood pumping, which can help you study longer. If you find yourself yawning or falling asleep, you may want to stand up and move or get creative more with your learning strategies.

2. Memorize

Kinesthetic learning techniques are also a great way to unconsciously memorize new information. Procedural memory is when your body knows how to do something without you having to think consciously about it.

Think about riding a bike. If you had to think about every complicated step involved in bike riding, you’d crash every time you even attempted it. But procedural memory allows your body to just do it.

You can use your procedural memory to expand the amount of information you learn. When you get new information “in the body,” you’re really recording it as procedural memory, and you can memorize way more unconsciously than you can consciously.

Get the Most Out of Kinesthetic Learning Styles

Let’s say I’ve convinced you to try kinesthetic learning techniques. Besides just standing up and moving through space, here’s a more specific list of ways you can get the most of kinesthetic learning styles:

1. Get Up

The first and simplest way to get kinesthetic is to stand up. That’s right—get out of your chair. Get a standing desk or take a walk while you think something over. Since a kinesthetic learning style has to do with movement, the first step is to stand up and get moving.

2. Move Through Space

The next trick for kinesthetic learning styles is to move. Walk around while you memorize, process new information, or try to solve problems.

Advertising

I like to pace when I’m on a phone call or walk the dog when I’m having some writer’s block. This helps get the blood pumping and helps keep me alert and creative.

3. Make It Tactile

Another way to make learning kinesthetic is to make it tactile. Incorporate objects that you can move around. Use index cards hung around the room to develop a plot or an essay. Make a model of the solar system instead of just reading about it. Create a physical flashcard deck to memorize new things instead of learning them on the computer or from a book.

The more you can cut, paste, shape, bend, fold, and manipulate, the better.

4. Place Things Places

One way that I tried to accommodate my daughter’s current kinesthetic learning style is by placing letters around the room. I then asked her to stand in the middle of the room and run to a certain letter. This approach was successful for a few reasons.

First, by making learning a game—or “gamifying”—I was making it fun and competitive, which kept my daughter engaged for longer.[1]

Second, by making letter-learning active, I was able to keep my daughter’s energy up, which kept the blood and oxygen pumping to her brain. This stimulates learning.

Finally, by placing letters around the room, my daughter was associating letters spatially. This helps make learning more concrete and less abstract. The A is in the kitchen, and the B is in the dining room, instead of just being letters on a page. This helps give her another way to distinguish the letters. Just make sure to switch it up, so you’re not always associating one concept with one place.

Advertising

This concept is also a great way to learn a new language. Put Post-It notes with your target language vocabulary all over the house. Put the word “mirror” on your mirror and the word “window” on your window.

This helps you learn throughout the day, but it also helps you associate the new word with the concept itself. When you look in the mirror, you are learning the new word for mirror. That’s context. It’s much easier to learn with context than by reading the new vocabulary word over and over.

I’ve also used this technique when I taught the areas of the stage. I drew a large grid on the floor and would yell out a stage direction—stage left or stage right or downstage center—then the class would have to run to that square on the grid as fast as they could. Because stage directions are already spatial, this kind of kinesthetic learning matches the learning task.

This technique could be effective for learning planets or geography. Get creative and place things places to make learning an embodied, spatial experience.

5. Combine Movements With Ideas

Another way to make learning kinesthetic is to combine movements with ideas. Trying to learn historical dates? Combine them with specific movements—mime rowing when you say 1492, Mime a guillotine when you yell 1789, or a falling wall for 1989. You get the idea.

By combining a movement with a concept, fact, or idea, you are increasing the likelihood that you’ll initiate your procedural memory and store that new knowledge in long-term memory.

6. Walking While You Work

You can also walk while you work. I’ve seen people work while on a treadmill and walk with a friend as they map out the structure for a new project. Walking is a great way to get unstuck. If you’re getting tired or bored or frustrated, get up, get out, and take a walk as you continue to learn, process, and create.

Advertising

7. Exercise While You Learn

I’m also a big fan of exercising while you learn. In grad school, I would carve out time at the gym almost every day. This wasn’t a way to avoid my schoolwork. It was actually a time when learning came more easily.

Something about running on the treadmill or stepping on that elliptical machine distracted me enough to lower my stress and anxiety. I always found learning much less effortful when I was incorporating exercise. So, get to the gym and pump some iron while you memorize, quiz yourself, and study yourself smart.

Final Thoughts

You may not consider yourself a kinesthetic learner. I know I don’t. But that doesn’t mean kinesthetic learning techniques can’t help you learn better.

Moving through space and manipulating objects are great ways to get more parts of your brain involved in the learning process. So, get out of that desk chair and get moving to make kinesthetic learning work for you.

More About Learning Styles

Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Play Your Way Sane: How to be more Playful: Gamify your Life

More by this author

Clay Drinko

Clay Drinko is an educator and the author of PLAY YOUR WAY SANE (January 2021 Simon & Schuster)

What Is a Fixed Mindset And Can You Change It? 9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective 10 Best Methods of Learning Smarter and Faster What Is Double Loop Learning And How Is It Valuable? 6 Scientific Ways to Improve Your Cognitive Thinking

Trending in Learning

1 How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Accelerate Your Learning 2 10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner 3 Best Brain Workout! Super Learning Hacks 4 How to Know Which Types of Learning Styles Work for You? 5 Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively and Easily

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 1, 2021

How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Accelerate Your Learning

How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Accelerate Your Learning

If you’ve ever taken a learning style quiz, you know that the idea is to find your most prominent learning style. The question then becomes: what do you do with that information?

A textbook definition of learning styles is:[1]

“Characteristic cognitive, effective, and psycho-social behaviors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that different individuals interact with their learning environment in different ways. You’ll often see learning styles in conjunction with higher education and other types of cognitive learning courses. The theory is that, if the teacher is aware of the various ways in which people perceive information, they can differentiate the instruction to meet those needs.

To the casual learner, understanding your learning style can help you find the best way to learn new information. There are seven different learning styles, and everybody uses a little of each one (on a sliding scale).

In this article we will talk about how many different learning styles there are (and what they mean), get you to try the learning style quiz, and find out how to use your specific learning style to improve your life.

The 7 Learning Styles

The following is an overview of the various learning styles[2]:

1. Visual / Spatial

A visual learner thinks in pictures. They prefer having illustrations, pictures, and other types of images to help form a mental image of what they are learning. Visual learners are typically spatial thinkers.

Advertising

2. Aural / Auditory-Musical

An aural learner learns through music and rhythm. While actual music isn’t necessarily required to reach an aural learner, it certainly is more effective.

3. Verbal / Linguistic

A verbal learner prefers using words, both in speech and in reading. A person with this learning style might prefer a good lecture or textbook to more visual and auditory styles.

4. Physical / Kinesthetic

A physical learner prefers using their body, hands, and sense of touch. A person with this learning style is more of a “hands-on” learner who prefers to learn by doing.

5. Logical / Mathematical

A logical learner prefers information to flow from one thought or idea to the next. A person with this learning style prefers mathematics, logic, and reasoning.

6. Social / Interpersonal

A social learner prefers to learn in groups or through social interaction. A person with this learning style usually prefers group-work and project-based learning.

7. Solitary / Intrapersonal

A solitary learner prefers to work alone. People with this learning style are great at teaching themselves and often prefer self-study and online courses to more traditional learning methods.

Did you see yourself in more than one learning style? If so, then you understand that no one person has just one learning style. Each of the above styles exist in everybody to a certain degree.

If you take a learning style quiz, you might see a certain style emerge as the strongest (and, thus, more preferred). However, that does not mean that person cannot learn in one of the other ways listed.

Advertising

Learning Styles and the Brain

Learning styles influence and guide the way you learn. They affect the way you internally represent your experiences, remember information, or even dictate the words you choose[3].

Learning style quiz: Dunn & Dunn learning styles brain map [Source: Kos, (2017)]

     

    Research suggests that each learning style makes use of a different part of the brain. Here is the breakdown for each learning style:

    • Visual: Visual learners use the occipital and parietal lobes at the back of the brain.
    • Aural: Aural content is mostly processed through the temporal lobes (especially the right temporal lobe for music).
    • Verbal: Verbal content is processed through the temporal and frontal lobes.
    • Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic learning is processed using the cerebellum and the motor cortex.
    • Logical: Logical learning is processed through the parietal lobes (specifically using the left side of the brain as it pertains to logical thinking).
    • Social: Social learning happens in the frontal and temporal lobes.

    How to Use the Learning Style Quiz to Improve Your Life

    Perhaps you didn’t realize that people had different learning styles before you read this article. Maybe you already knew about learning styles.

    Whatever the case, you can learn a lot about yourself just by taking a short learning styles quiz. But what do you do with the knowledge you get from the results?

    Here are some tips:

    Advertising

    Visual Learner

    If you’re a visual learner, focus on how you can make the material you’re learning more visually appealing[4].

    1. Stay Organized

    If a learning style quiz tells you you’re a visual learner, focus on getting your material organized. Your brain will likely feel overwhelmed if your notes are chaotic.

    2. Use Color

    Try color coding information in order to help your mind visually separate each bit. For example, if you’re studying for a history test, highlight dates in yellow, people in blue, and places in pink. This technique will set important pieces of information off in your mind and make them easier to remember.

    3. Watch Videos

    Ditch the audio-books and podcasts and either read or watch videos and lectures online. Your strength is found in visual explanation — seeing the information in a book, diagram, or demonstration.

    Auditory Learner

    If you’re an auditory learner according to your learning style quiz, focus on using your ability to hear to take in information[5].

    1. Limit Distracting Noises

    Traffic outside your window, students speaking nearby, or music blaring from a speaker won’t help you while studying. You’re already prone to take in the sounds around you, so if you want to learn something specific, find a quiet place to work where you can limit distracting noises.

    2. Read Aloud

    If you’ve taken notes in class, try reading them aloud to yourself. You can even create jingles or rhymes to help you remember specific bits of information.

    3. Record Lectures

    Instead of just simply writing notes as your professor or boss speaks, record the lecture or conversation and listen back later. This will help solidify the information with aural cues. Also, try speaking with classmates or coworkers to help “fill in” the information.

    Advertising

    Kinesthetic Learners

    Your learning style quiz tells you that you’re a kinesthetic learner. Here are some study tips to help you[6].

    1. Teach Someone

    After you’ve studied the target information, try teaching it to someone else. This dynamic activity will help turn on your ability to recall the information.

    2. Be Hands-on

    Using your hands to create something will help your brain work through specific problems. If you need to remember 20 vocabulary words, try drawing a map and placing the words in specific places. This is related to the idea of a memory palace, which you can learn about here.

    Bonus tip: Try chewing gum, as the movement may help activate learning centers in your brain.

    3. Take Breaks

    As a kinesthetic learner, your mind won’t like being in one static position for very long. Take time to get up and walk around or do another physical activity for a few minutes between study sessions.

    Also be aware that most of the learning styles can fit into one of those three categories. You are essentially going to be one of these three types of learning styles paired with an interpersonal or intrapersonal preference. In other words, you either like working with others or you don’t.

    If you’re ready to take your learning to the next level with your learning style, check out the video below for some more tips and tricks:

    Final Thoughts

    Have you taken the learning style quiz yet? If not, scroll down this page a bit and try the quiz now!

    Advertising

    If you spend just five to ten minutes on this quiz, it may give you insight into learning styles that will change your life.

    More on How to Use the Learning Style Quiz

    Featured photo credit: Eliabe Costa via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next