Many teachers are aware of the four basic learning styles: visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic. But did you know that there are eight more common ways that the brain processes information? Accommodating these 12 ways of processing is a must these days and offering instruction as well as assignments that honor all these modalities helps to prepare our students for a future of life-long learning success.
Let’s Review the Four Basic Learning Styles:
- Visual Learning: incorporates pictures, drawings and even personal visualizations into lessons. This helps students learn through visual observation.
- Auditory Learning: involves learning through listening. This helps students to learn how to focus on and determine the salient information from what they are hearing.
- Tactile Learning: consists of touching or feeling objects or artifacts. It also involves the encoding of information when taking notes or drawing things out.
- Kinesthetic Learning: encompasses learning while moving one’s body. For many students, movement can help enhance engagement in learning and memory of information.
Now Let’s Cover the Other Eight Ways of Processing:
- Sequential Learning: entails teaching students in a step by step format that sequences instruction by time, alphabetical order or a numerical series. This prepares students for outlines, timelines, completing long term assignments and keeping materials organized.
- Simultaneous Learning: involves teaching children how to categorize materials by likeness. This prepares students for webbing information, conceptualizing main ideas, understanding flow charts and diagrams as well as keeping materials organized.
- Verbal Learning: incorporates teaching children how to process ideas aloud. This helps students participate in class discussions and feel comfortable expressing ideas.
- Interactive Learning: consists of teaching children how to work with others. This trains learners to collaborate and work in groups.
- Logical/Reflective Learning: encompasses teaching children how to reflect upon or think about what they are learning. This prepares students to work independently and process ideas internally.
- Indirect Experience Learning: entails teaching children how to watch and learn from a demonstration. This helps students attend to and glean information from vicarious learning experiences.
- Direct Experience Learning: involves teaching children how to use their own environment to learn. This informs students that continuing education is ever present in our everyday environment and that there are fabulous learning experiences available through museums, aquariums, historic sites and other locales.
- Rhythmic Melodic Learning: consists of teaching children how to use melodies and rhythm to learn. This provides students the tools to utilize beats and songs or come up with their own creative rhythms or melodies when trying to memorize novel information.
Where Do the 12 Ways of Learning Come From:
The 12 Ways of Learning is based on an extensive literature review on learning styles, cognitive styles, Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, and it also considers an information processing model out of school psychology. You can learn more about this in Dr. Warren’s publication the Eclectic Teaching Approach.
How Can I Possibly Accommodate 12 Different Ways of Learning:
The trick is to weave multiple ways of learning into one lesson or offer assignment options. For example, a lecture (auditory) can be enhanced with images (visual), discussions (interactive and verbal), written activities (tactile) and so forth. In addition, assignment options that tap into diverse ways of learning can allow students to demonstrate their knowledge in the most empowering and motivating ways.
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.
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