Understanding Student Default Learning Modes

Teaching is amazing! Imparting knowledge, experience, and understanding to those looking to increase their ability is an incredibly rewarding experience.

But what makes a good teacher? A well-thought-out lesson plan? A great communicator? Someone who builds a rapport with their students? Having an incredible command and ability in the subject matter in hand? Yes, all these things are important. It’s arguably more important to recognize that individuals learn in diverse ways. Incorporating multiple learning modes into lessons, tasks, and homework help all students take on board the subject matter at hand.

Depending on who you ask, there are three to eight learning modes; the most common three are highlighted below.

Visual or spatial learners

Using the right teaching method is key in getting across knowledge and information. Teachers who don’t incorporate learning modes into their lessons risk leaving students behind or allowing them to become bored. Not understanding learning modes often results in lessons delivered in the teacher’s default learning mode, so it is vital effort is put into effort and become inclusive. A study from 2012 revealed that 93% of UK teachers agreed students learned better when receiving information in their preferred learning mode.

Students in this learning group take in and process information visually. They understand relationships and ideas visually. As you might expect, diagrams, charts, maps, graphs, images, and slide shows help visual learners.

Whiteboards are great ways to disseminate information to these learners as they can take part and interact. Interestingly 65% of students are in this group, so it is a key type to include.

Auditory learners

For Auditory learners, it is all about what they hear. Their preference is to listen to the information to absorb it rather than read it or set it visually displayed. When including a slide show or other visual teaching method in a lesson, it is important to comment on the subject matter that is just as, if not more informative than the visual representation. This will ensure auditory learners are included.

Auditory students tend to be linear learners, and it may help them to repeat out loud what they are learning. Auditory learners can sometimes be recognized by their slow speech or reading. Recalling conversations can help this group, so giving them time to discuss the subject with others in the lesson or as part of homework can really help. Around 30% of learners have an auditory preference.

Kinaesthetic or hands-on learners

Kinaesthetic learners really need to be hands-on. They remember by doing. So, working on examples as part of the learning experience is a must. They may be fidgety and find it hard to sit still for long periods of time, so finding a way to incorporate a ‘doing’ task into your lesson as early will be beneficial if you have several kinaesthetic learners in your group.

Role-playing and using flashcards are also other ways to keep hands-on learners engaged.

While it is tempting to think it is easy to put students into boxes to be a more effective teacher, the reality is often a little more complex. Most students have a blend of learning styles that include social, logical, solitary, and verbal. These groups make up around 5% of the population together.