Each of us learn in a different way, according to our own times, paths and inclinations. Our brain, in fact, stores and processes information through different processing methods, the so-called learning styles.
Specifically, according to Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, there are seven different learning styles. Knowing and understanding the characteristics of each of these styles allows teachers to use teaching approaches that are better suited to their students, as well as to improve the speed and quality of the learning process.
However, consider that these styles are not rigid: there is no one that belongs 100% to a single style. Quite simply, each of us has a predisposition towards which we tend when processing and storing information. Then, depending on the context or task we face, we may also move towards other styles that are better suited to that specific situation.
Let's see in more detail the characteristics of the seven learning styles identified by Gardner and the most suitable teaching strategies to improve the involvement of all types of students.
1. Auditory students
Auditory students love to listen and find it easier to understand and memorize voice instructions than written ones. They generally remember what their teacher says and readily participate in the lesson. They also tend to say words out loud to learn them better, love to read dialogues and do not appreciate long stories and descriptions.
To engage these students, the key is the voice: use an interesting and engaging tone. At the same time, encourage your students to reread their notes: listening to the sound of their own voice (or companions, where possible) will help them memorize the information. Another technique that may come in handy is to invite them to record the lesson and listen to it later.
2. Visual students
As the name suggests, visual students are the ones who learn best through images: visual elements, in fact, help them to process information. This type of student likes to use symbols, colors and graphics to summarize the material to be studied and is particularly adept with visual memory.
To capture the attention of a visual student, it is therefore advisable to include elements such as maps, images or diagrams, as well as videos and slides in the lesson. At the same time, encourage them to take notes and use colors in your presentations.
3. Kinaesthetic students
Kinaesthetic students, also called physical students, are those students who "learn by doing" and use their bodies to support learning. They gesture, tend to physical contact and quickly lose interest in long speeches. They prefer practical learning by far and are very good at remembering what they did compared to what they saw or talked about.
Channeling their energy and flair is therefore the key to teaching them a good lesson. To this end, it incorporates role-playing games and projects to strengthen the information transmitted, encourages physical interaction and the use of tools and materials. Use real-life examples to explain things and provide breaks so they can move around.
4. Verbal students
Verbal students prefer to use words, both in oral and written form. They express themselves well and have a well-developed memory for the material they read. They tend to take notes and reread them, make summaries of what they read and written lists of what they consider important to remember.
To engage this type of student, it is recommended to use teaching materials that include both audio and text content. For example, use role-playing games that include both recited and written parts, as well as word games and mnemonic devices such as rhymes, scripting, acronyms, etc.
5. Logical (or mathematical) students
Logical students have a natural predisposition for numbers, groupings and classifications. They have strong logical skills and a great affinity with mathematics and reasoning. They learn by asking many questions, classifying and categorizing and analyzing problems from any critical perspective. They believe in the application of reason and the identification of suitable schemes to arrive at a solution. For this reason, they tend to be excellent problem-solvers.
To satisfy this type of student, it may be useful to use puzzles, riddles and strategy games.
6. Social Students
Social learners prefer to learn in groups rather than alone and like to generate ideas by brainstorming with others. They communicate well with people, both verbally and non-verbally; they love to do and share and are stimulated by dialogue and collaboration.
To engage a social learner, think about activities such as presentations and discussion groups, take breaks to allow informal and off-topic discussions and provide ongoing feedback.
7. Lonely Students
Lonely students prefer to learn by themselves and through self-study, they tend to be more independent and introspective and spend a lot of time alone. Their concentration is at its highest when they do not have the distraction of others. They are organized students who like to plan, make lists and stick to a program.
To engage a solitary student, provide visual materials, books and learning aids that they can use independently. Assign individual tasks, set goals, and regularly monitor students' progress. Another useful strategy is to establish defined moments of sharing, so that the lone student can feel adequately prepared.
Learning styles and eLearning
Facilitating engaging lessons at all levels will give your students the best chance of success.
This is particularly crucial in eLearning training, where the presence of a particularly large and varied audience does not always make it easy to customize lessons.
When designing your online course, make sure you use a blended teaching approach that responds to the peculiarities of each style: include video, audio, moments of social interaction and all those teaching strategies useful to satisfy all types of students.
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