The 3 Basic Learning Styles: How Do You Learn Best?

December 24, 2012

Auditory vs. Visual vs. Tactile

Posted by Katherine B., Staff

"The best type of tutoring or teaching is to combine all three learning types in his/her lesson plans," says tutor Julia C. from Roanoke, VA. If a lesson plan incorporates all three learning types, then all students will have an equal opportunity to excel in the classroom. Additionally, students get an opportunity to practice other non-dominant learning styles.

Auditory learners typically pick up music, language and acting more easily than other types of learners. When faced with a challenge, they are more likely to ask for help from a friend, rather than fixing the problem themselves or reading a manual. Jeopardy–like games that require you to pose a question and answer out loud may be the best type of study tool.(

WyzAnt tutor Juliet J.from Banning, CA blogs that “Auditory learners prefer hearing lectures or explanations. They do well with learning in song. They might say things like: I hear you, or can you tell me.” Julie also notes that “auditory learners do well with group discussions, question and answer sessions, and explaining to someone else what they have learned.”

Math teacher and WyzAnt tutor Diane W. recently tried a new exercise with her students that was helpful to all three learning styles, though auditory learners in particular. “I have learners say out loud how they would solve the equation before they even write it down. For example, with the equation 5x-3=9, the student would say ‘add three to both sides, then divide both sides by 5.’ This really helped many students who too often rush into trying to solve a problem without first thinking about the ‘big picture’ or strategy.”


Tactile (kinesthetic) learners are the doodlers and the do-ers. They tend to struggle the most with essay questions because of the amount of time spent on one single task. They naturally prefer – and possibly benefit the most from — online quizzes and interactive learning tools. Allowing tactile learners the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, as opposed to explaining them, is optimal. (

According to Juliet, “Kinesthetic learners do best when they are allowed to use their bodies while learning. They would benefit from the use of flash cards, acting out what they are learning, or using some type of device they can manipulate to understand the ideas or concepts being taught.” Art tutor Susan E. also suggests kinesthetic learners “take study breaks often, move while studying, and highlight information while learning.” Check out the rest of her blog post to see more tips!

"My daughter is in junior high. She has ADHD (ADD) and she is a kinesthetic learner. She squeezes and manipulates silly putty in one hand while she takes notes, listens to lectures, and even while taking tests. Ever since she started this, her test scores sky rocketed and is an “A” student in every subject. It might just be all in our heads, but we are convinced that as long as she is performing any sort of tactile task while she does her school work, then her brain is fooled and she learns and performs better," reports WyzAnt parent, Ron L., of Fruitland, IA.


Visual learners tend to memorize and recall information well, especially when it is written down. They learn best from reading a book, rather than working in groups with other students. For visual learners, sitting in front of the classroom may help retain more information. Flashcards also are the most beneficial for visual learners to retain information. ( Juliet let us know that “Visual learners need to see what they are learning. They can be identified by the words they use such as ‘I see’ or ‘Can you show me,’ and prefer a list or written explanation of what they need to do, rather than being told.”

Susan’s best study and learning practices for visual learners include “underlining and highlighting information and drawing pictures to associate the information, reading books with pictures and descriptive words, and drawing or writing in large, colorful spaces.”

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