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How to Discover Your Child’s Learning Style

Khan's Tutorial students working on STEM projects in their schools.

What is a learning style?

It’s a no-brainer that not everyone learns effectively through the same techniques. This is especially apparent in children. Throughout a child’s youth, their need for individualized learning catered to how they learn is more important, since that is when they are establishing their fundamentals. A learning style is how a person learns; whether by seeing, hearing, or doing. These are the three types of learning styles that everyone experiences. Some people do show signs of being efficient with multiple learning styles. And that is more power to them.

Why should I consider my child’s learning style?

Considering a child’s learning style can save you time and effort in the long run. Knowing their learning style can help you and their teachers visualize how they best absorb, comprehend, and retain learning material. Choosing the environment your child will thrive in will reduce any need to exert any strenuous efforts because they will be able to absorb and retain material faster and more effectively. It is very normal for concerns to arise from teachers when children don’t seem to understand the materials presented in class. As an informed parent, that is when you can step in and make suggestions that work from what you’ve learned through observation at home. 

By knowing your child’s learning style, you can choose effective study methods that complement strengths rather than work against them.

Kinesthetic Learners (The Doers)

Kinesthetic learners are people that prefer to always be moving and doing things with their hands. These learners usually have a strong sense of balance. As children, they were early crawlers and walkers, or especially physical as babies. These strengths have probably stayed with them as they got older.

The indications of a child being a Kinesthetic learner:

  • Aptitude in sports, dance, or other physical activities
  • Tendency to fidget while in their seat — they may need to move while processing information
  • Frequent use of gestures when speaking or explaining things
  • A love of hands-on activities and play-acting
  • Enjoyment of writing, drawing, or handwriting exercises
  • Early physical development, such as walking, crawling, or sitting early
  • Sharp hand-eye coordination

Auditory Learners (The Listeners)

Auditory learners are drawn more to sound than anything. They most likely are musically inclined and show an aptitude for playing instruments or singing. They are often amazing listeners and have strong verbal strengths. They follow oral directions well.

The indications of a child being an Auditory learner:

  • Aptitude in music, instruments, or vocal ability
  • Tendency to sing along to songs or to create their own songs as they play
  • Strong verbal ability, especially through repetition of words or phrases they’ve heard before
  • Ability to listen well and follow verbal directions
  • A love for talking and discussions
  • Sharp ability to notice sounds that others don’t recognize
  • Perking up when they hear music or dialog

Visual Learners (The Seers)

Visual learners are observant of the world around them and are most likely drawn to art. You may notice this kind of learner looking at painting, lingering over illustrations in books, and showing interest in photographs. They tend to enjoy screens, whether it be computers, televisions, or movies. They retain the information they find there better.

This kind of learners have vivid memories. If your child is a visual learner, they may be especially skilled at remembering names, places, and people. They may even exhibit these skills from a young age.

The indications of a child being a Visual learner:

  • A vivid imagination
  • An interest in art: painting, drawing, or crafts
  • A strong memory that relays visually-observed information
  • A good sense of direction and an understanding of maps
  • An aptitude in reading and a love of books
  • Recognition of people, faces, and places
  • A keen interest in observing the world around her

As I’ve stated before, your child probably has some aptitude in each of the three learning styles. If you look closely one of the styles will stand out more than the rest. This recognition can help you tailor your child’s learning process and build on their innate strengths in the future.

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