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What are learning styles?

Learning can be defined as a process of acquiring knowledge or skills through experience, interaction, processing, diverging, reflection, testing, and experimentation. How we approach learning is different for everyone, as we develop our very own learning styles or preferences. One style is not necessarily better than the others and most people have a unique blend, though preferences can shift depending on a subject or situation. Understanding how learning styles affect the classroom environment may significantly improve the outcomes (Cercone, 2008).

What are some of the examples of learning styles?

There are multiple theories concerned with learning styles. The following are just a few examples based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983).

  • Verbal: Using words, both in speech and writing
  • Visual: Pictures, images, and spatial understanding
  • Auditory: Sound and music
  • Kinesthetic: Using body, hands, and sense of touch
  • Logical: Using logic, reasoning, and systems
  • Solitary: Working alone/self-study
  • Social: Learning in groups or with other people.

Tools to assess learning styles

How to teach to multiple learning styles

  • Use a variety of instructional modalities:
    • Lectures and Presentations
    • Videos
    • Podcasts
    • Discussions
    • Round Robin Activities
    • Field Trips
    • Polling
    • Self-directed learning
    • Experiments
    • Hands-on activities
  • Use multiple ways to assess learning:
    • Essay
    • Test
    • Presentation
    • Video
    • Screenplay
    • Portfolio
    • Website
    • Model
    • Team Project


This is an excellent resource from Brown University Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning offering information on interactive classroom activities and more.