Kinesthetic learners learn most effectively when they are physically active or touching an object. They prefer to learn by performing a task instead of reading a book or listening to a lecture. A Kinesthetic learner will comprehend, process and memorise information faster if they can associate it with a physical act. Solving problems is also much easier for Kinesthetic learner while they are physically active.
You may be wondering how being a Kinesthetic learner affects your life.
This guide to Kinesthetic learning has the answers! We will explain the difference between Kinesthetic learners, auditory learners, and visual learners. We’ll highlight the strengths and weaknesses of Kinesthetic learners, then share some great career choices for Kinesthetic learners.
How Kinesthetic learners are different to other types of learners
Learning theorists have discovered that humans use three different learning styles — Visual Learning, Auditory Learning, and Kinesthetic Learning. Most people are capable of using all three styles, but have a preference for a specific style.
A visual learner prefers to working with visual information and an auditory learner prefers working with sounds. A Kinesthetic learner is most effective when they are learning while physically active.
Knowing your preferred learning style can help you learn, process, and recall information more effectively. It can also help you improve how you communicate with other people and develop new ideas.
About 5% of people are Kinesthetic learners. If you are a Kinesthetic learner, your brain will be more active when they are physically active. You will learn faster if you are using your hands to create something or simply being physically active. Even bouncing a ball against a wall or tapping a foot will help a Kinesthetic learner think more effectively.
Kinesthetic learners are very good at memorising mechanical tasks that involve their hands. In fact, any task involving tools or equipment will be easy for a Kinesthetic learner to master. Most Kinesthetic learners will have excellent motor skills and pick up complex physical tasks very quickly.
Kinesthetic learning is sometimes referred to as tactile learning or tactile-Kinesthetic learning.
You may be a Kinesthetic learner if you:
• Learn best during activities that involve physical movement
• Enjoy building things
• Enjoy physical handling materials related to what you are learning
• Enjoy working with computers
• Remember the things you do more than what you read or hear
• Often write notes but rarely read those notes
• Act out situations that are related to what you are learning
• Are very physical in the way you communicate
• Have trouble sitting still for a long period
• Find that you can study more effectively while eating, walking around the room or touching something
Strengths of Kinesthetic learners
Kinesthetic learners are highly skilled at remembering any physical task they have performed. A Kinesthetic learner could learn how to operate a complex piece of machinery after using it once or twice.
Their excellent motor skills make it easy to use hand tools. They also use computers well because the act of typing helps their brain absorb new information and formulate ideas. A Kinesthetic learner has excellent muscle memory, which makes tasks like playing guitar, sewing, and tying knots easy.
How are auditory learners different from Kinesthetic learners?
Auditory learners find it easier to learn, solve problems, and remember information when they are listening to something. They enjoy lectures, audio recordings, songs and other auditory stimuli. They do very well in group discussions and are typically excellent communicators.
An auditory learner does very well when listening to verbal instructions and can recall up to 75% of what a person says. A Kinesthetic learner may struggle to follow verbal directions and would prefer to be shown how to perform a task, then use their hands to perform it.
Auditory learners can sit still while learning. Kinesthetic learners would find it more difficult to learn if they could not move. Auditory learners can absorb information more effectively if they read the information they are learning aloud. This technique is of no advantages to a Kinesthetic learner, who prefers to touch items relating to what they are learning.
Auditory learners can remember people’s names very easily, learn languages quickly and can memorise the information mentioned during a discussion. All of these tasks are more difficult for a Kinesthetic learner. However, the Kinesthetic will be able to use tools and learn complex physical tasks more easily.
How are visual learners different from Kinesthetic learners?
Visual learners excel at learning information that is presented visually. That includes information in books, diagrams, and infographics. Visual learners also learn well from movies. They can retain up to 75% of the information they see.
Visual learners can quickly memorise the information they see, which is difficult for Kinesthetic learners. A Kinesthetic learner benefits from touching an object related to the information they are learning or moving around while learning.
While a visual learner can learn a mechanical skill quickly if they watch a video, it will typically be slower than a Kinesthetic learner who is learning by performing the task.
Visual learners enjoy sitting still and watching a person deliver a speech or give a presentation. This can be difficult for a Kinesthetic learner who may become distracted if they are not allowed to move. If a visual learner struggles to learn a concept, they will turn to books and diagrams. A Kinesthetic learner will look for practical aways to test a concept or solve a problem.
The tasks that Kinesthetic learners find easy
Some of the tasks that Kinesthetic learners find very easy include:
• Memorising complex physical patterns
A Kinesthetic learner can easily learn complex physical patterns like operating machinery or using a tool. If you show a Kinesthetic learner how to change a tire on a car and they perform it just once, they will have that skill for life.
• Learning while moving
When a Kinesthetic learner is physically active, their ability to absorb, comprehend, process, and remember information drastically increases. This makes them highly effective at performing experiments, working with machinery, using tools, and performing any task that involves physical movement.
• Playing sports
Most Kinesthetic learners have high levels of energy and their brains are working at peak performance while moving. They also have excellent hand-eye coordination. These attributes combine to make them excellent sports people.
• Performing on stage
Kinesthetic learners are excellent performers. The physical movement associated with playing guitar, acting, or dancing helps their brains each peak performance.
• Technical work using their hands
Kinesthetic learners have extremely motor skills. This allows them to perform tricky tasks like assembling computers and repairing electronics.
• Performing experiments
Kinesthetic learners make excellent scientists because they are at their best when performing experiments.
The tasks that Kinesthetic learners find difficult
The kinds of tasks that Kinesthetic learners may struggle with include:
• Learning while sitting still
Kinesthetic learners are not reaching their learning potential if they are forced to sit still while learning. This can make classroom learning difficult.
• Reading from textbooks
Some Kinesthetic learners struggle to read or memorise long sections of text. They often have to take short breaks to improve their concentration levels while reading.
• Reading maps, diagrams, and schematics
Kinesthetic learners don’t enjoy using visual documents as much as a visual learner. They would rather learn while exploring and experimenting.
• Listening to long lectures
A Kinesthetic learners will not be learning effectively if they are forced to sit still and listen to a long-winded lecture. They will often drift off and not absorb the information in the speech.
How Kinesthetic learners should adapt their communications with other people
Your preferred learning style learner can change how you communicate with other people. Kinesthetic learners may have to adjust how they work with people who are visual learners or auditory learners. If you are working with another Kinesthetic learner:
• Have practical demonstrations which are hands-on
• Present information in an environment where people are free to move around
• Encourage them to take their own notes instead of giving them printed material
• Incorporate multimedia sources
• Use activities that involve drawing, touching, or building things
• Have short meetings
• Use frequent breaks during meetings
If you are communicating with an auditory learner, try the following techniques:
• Have face-to-face conversations whenever possible
• Use videos and audio recordings to share information
• Use the phone to communicate
• Go over the details of projects in group meetings and discuss any finer points verbally
• Speak clearly and precisely
• When speaking, repeat or emphasise the most important concepts
• Make recordings of group meetings that you can listen to or share with colleagues
If you are communicating with a person who is a visual learner:
• Create written transcripts of any meetings
• Incorporate whiteboards into business meetings or study groups, so you can write down any key points
• Use emails to communicate
• Use Mind Mapping when working with other people on a project.
• Use powerpoint presentations to combine images with audio so you reach different kinds of learners in the audience
• Look them in the face when talking
• Use colours to highlight any important terms that you are talking about
Making the most of your learning potential
Here are a few techniques that are proven to help Kinesthetic learners absorb and process new information:
• Stand up and move around if you are starting to feel distracted
• Bounce a ball or play with a toy while you are brainstorming, watching videos or listening to a lecture
• Draw and make notes as you learn. Underline passages, use markers to highlight important sections.
• Bounce your leg, tap your pencil or tense your muscles if you are forced to sit still during a lecture
• Participate in activities that involve movement, building, drawing or performing experiments
• Make flashcards and spend time arranging them. For example, if you are trying to memorise terms, order the cards alphabetically with your hands then mix them up again.
• Chew gum or eat while studying
• Listen to audio books while exercising
What types of careers are ideal for Kinesthetic learners?
Kinesthetic learners have some interesting career prospects available. Here are just a few:
A mechanic is constantly moving, diagnosing problems, and using tools. They often perform complex physical processes when assembling or disassembling engine components. It is the perfect profession for a Kinesthetic learner.
This is another occupation that involves a lot of hands-on activities. The excellent motor skills of Kinesthetic learners and the constant movement involved in the profession make it an excellent career choice.
A physical therapist helps patients regain mobility and reduce pain. Kinesthetic learners are perfectly suited for this occupation because they have high level motor skills and enjoy physical work.
Similar to other trades, a machinist must produce very precise objects with strict tolerances. A Kinesthetic learner has the motor skills and aptitude to deliver high quality work.
Physical education teacher
A Kinesthetic learner’s excellent motor skills make them very good at teaching other people how to play sports. They are perfectly suited to work as physical education teachers or fitness instructors.