Within the field of education, one size does not fit all. Just as each student brings their unique background and experiences to the classroom, they also have different styles of learning that best suits them.


As teachers, our responsibility is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn, thrive and reach their full potential. Understanding and adapting to various learning styles is key to achieving this goal. 


In this article, we’ll explore the different types of learning styles students can have and provide practical tips for teachers to tailor their teaching strategies accordingly. 

Understanding Different Learning Styles



Learning styles refer to the different ways individuals prefer to learn and process information. There are four main types of learning styles:


Visual Learners: Visual learners prefer to process information through visual stimuli. They often have a strong ability to recall images and visualise concepts in their minds. They learn best when information is presented in the form of diagrams, charts, graphs, videos, and other visual aids. Consider circling specific words or using highlighters to break up sentences or to emphasise specific parts of the paragraph. You can also use coloured index cards or coloured paper to separate different sections of an essay for example.


Auditory Learners: Auditory learners grasp information best through listening. They learn best through auditory stimuli, such as listening to explanations, lectures, discussions, and audio recordings. They have a knack for remembering information they’ve heard and often benefit from verbal instructions and discussions. Providing verbal explanations and incorporating music or sound effects can enhance their learning experience. Consider reading sentences and stories aloud.


Kinaesthetic Learners: Kinaesthetic learners, also known as tactile learners, learn best through hands-on experiences and physical activities. They thrive when they can actively engage with materials, manipulate objects, and participate in experiments or role-playing activities. They often have a strong sense of body awareness and learn by doing. Teachers can plan interactive lessons, simulations, experiments, and role-playing exercises.


Reading/Writing Learners: Reading/writing learners prefer to engage with information through written materials. They excel in reading assignments, writing tasks, note-taking, and textual explanations. Teachers can support these students by providing several text-based resources, reading materials, writing assignments, and opportunities for reflection.


Understanding these learning styles can help teachers tailor their teaching strategies to accommodate the diverse needs of students in the classroom, ensuring that each individual has the opportunity to learn effectively.

Tips for Adapting Teaching Strategies



Assess Individual Learning Styles


Teachers can observe how students engage with different learning materials and activities, noting preferences for visual aids, participation in discussions, enjoyment of hands-on activities, or proficiency in reading and writing tasks. Observing group dynamics during collaborative activities provides another opportunity to understand how students interact with each other and approach tasks.


It can also be useful to have conversations with students about their learning experiences. Ask questions like “Do you prefer to talk things through or see a picture?”. You can then use this information to adapt your teaching methods.


Teachers can also use surveys, quizzes or questionnaires to gather information on students’ preferred learning styles. There are a range of resources teachers can use for this, including this learning style quiz by Education Planner and this Learning Styles Inventory.


With these strategies, teachers can gain valuable insights into the individual learning styles of their students, enabling them to tailor their teaching approaches to better meet the diverse needs of their classroom.

Differentiate Instruction



Once you understand your students’ learning styles, tailor your teaching methods to accommodate their needs. Teachers can differentiate instruction across four main areas including content, process, product, and environment.


Content differentiation involves considering the objective of a lesson and then providing students with options about the content they study to meet the learning goal.


Process differentiation involves varying how students learn. Teachers can group students based on individual readiness or complementary skills, allowing them to work together effectively.  


Product differentiation refers to the types of assignments students create. Teachers might task students with explaining a concept, providing options for the product, such as a written report, a story, a song, a speech, or an art project. Varying the complexity or depth of instruction provided to students is another example of product differentiation. 


Environment differentiation involves modifying the classroom environment to support diverse learning needs. This may involve adjusting physical elements, such as desk arrangements or seating options like beanbags, to create a more conducive learning space. Changes to classroom routines and habits can also contribute to environment differentiation, ensuring that students feel comfortable and engaged in their learning environment. 

Use Multisensory Techniques


Multisensory teaching engages multiple senses simultaneously, catering to visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, and reading/writing learners. Teachers can integrate multisensory techniques into lesson delivery by combining elements from different modalities. For example:


  • Use multimedia presentations that combine visual images, auditory explanations, and interactive elements to appeal to multiple senses.
  • Incorporate hands-on experiments or demonstrations accompanied by verbal explanations to provide a holistic learning experience.
  • Integrate movement and gestures into lessons to reinforce concepts and engage kinaesthetic learners.


By incorporating multisensory techniques into their teaching practices, teachers can create inclusive learning environments where all students can engage with and understand the material, regardless of their preferred learning style.

Provide Flexibility and Choice


Allow students to choose how they engage with the material whenever possible. Offer options for projects, assignments, and study methods to accommodate different learning preferences.


This flexibility allows visual learners to gravitate towards visual projects or presentations, auditory learners to opt for verbal explanations or discussions, kinaesthetic learners to engage in hands-on activities or experiments, and reading/writing learners to choose written assignments or note-taking tasks.


Providing flexibility and choice in learning encourages students to take ownership of their learning process, promoting independence and self-directed learning skills.

Offer Personalised Support


Provide individualised assistance and resources to students based on their specific learning needs.


Offer extra practice, alternative explanations, or additional resources to support your students’ learning journey. For example, teachers can provide additional explanations or resources for visual learners who benefit from seeing information presented visually.


By adapting support to different learning styles, teachers ensure that each student receives the assistance and resources they need to succeed.

In the classroom, embracing diversity is more than just about cultural backgrounds. It also involves adapting teaching methods for different individual learning styles.


By recognising and accommodating the diverse ways in which students learn, teachers can create inclusive learning environments where every student can thrive.


By implementing the tips and strategies outlined above, teachers can empower students to reach their full potential, regardless of their preferred learning style.


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