Kinaesthetic Learners are one of the four different learning styles popularised in the last 20 years by educationalists and psychologists:
Visual learners – Visual learners learn best by seeing. People who prefer this type of learning would rather see information presented in a visual rather than in written form.
Auditory learners – Aural (or auditory) learners learn best by hearing information. They enjoy and benefit from learning in a lecture style and are good at remembering things they are told.
Reading/Writing learners – Reading and writing learners prefer to take in information displayed as words. They access and engage best with learning materials that are predominantly text-based.
Kinaesthetic learners – Kinaesthetic (or tactile) learners learn best by touching and doing. Hands-on experience is important to kinaesthetic learners and focus can be supported by adding movement to any learning experience.
It is now well researched and recognised that people prefer a combination of these different learning styles and techniques yet, in mainstream education and the majority of Professional Development opportunities, there are dominant learning styles that are catered for and others that are forsaken due to limitations on planning time, resources, space and shared awareness.
As a kinaesthetic/visual learner, I find conventional learning environments challenging. Sitting still at tables for extended periods of time whilst looking through written documents, despite years of practice, is still problematic. I’ve spent the last 15 years working on it though, and, after researching child development psychology and training in arts facilitation, I have spent time developing a set of tools that enable me to hold and process information in a way that makes my learning style an advantage rather than barrier. I can ‘translate’ information that is delivered to me in a format designed for reading/writing and auditory learning styles into visual and physical patterns which help me to hold on to it better.
On approaching my role as an action learning facilitator for a mixed experience set, I was acutely aware of the challenges that the action learning process poses for Kinaesthetic Learners. I understood the need to accommodate a wide variety of learning styles and wanted to utilise the techniques developed to aide my own learning, to create a supportive and accessible learning environment for the set – only with a level playing field could we hope to transcend the natural hierarchy of experience inherent in the group.
In a nutshell, a kinaesthetic learner needs to be actively doing something while learning in order to truly engage with and understand the materials and/or subject at hand. Often, those with a kineasthetic learning style have a hard time learning during sedentary things like lectures, presentations and talking-focused learning because the body does not make the connection that they are doing something when they’re listening. Much of the time, they need to get up and move to put something into memory.