Do you learn better when you are busy doing something besides focusing exclusively on the material? Are you good at sports and/or physical activities? Do you enjoy building models and other tactical tasks? Do you like taking things apart to see how they work?
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you have the privilege of being a kinesthetic learner.
What is Kinesthetic Learning?
Kinesthetic is one of the four types of learning styles in the VARK (Visual, Auditory, Reading, and Kinesthetic) system. Kinesthetic learners like to be active while they learn. They learn better when they are physically engaged with the material. They generally have high energy levels, good motor memory, and excellent hand-eye coordination.
Unfortunately, most classrooms are ill-equipped to meet the needs of kinesthetic learners, who often struggle with staying focused in class. If you are a kinesthetic learner (or the parent of one) who struggles with grasping or retaining information or has trouble sitting still in the classroom, you will likely benefit from the following.
2. Trace and learn
Kinesthetic learners (especially younger ones) benefit when they use their hands to learn. Tracing your finger as you read, counting on fingers, spelling words in the air, and “drawing” math problems are some of the ways learning can be made more physical for kinesthetic learners.
2. Work on your feet
Standing up allows learners to flex their muscles, which impacts the way their bodies internalize information. For kinesthetic learners, standing in the classroom can lead to better comprehension, improved focus, and greater retention of information.
3. Use flashcards and highlighters
Kinesthetic learners trying to learn new information can activate their brain cells by preparing flashcards or simply by highlighting important points with a highlighter. Since you prefer movement, flashcards work as a moving memory machine that your brain will naturally favor over stationary words on a page.
4. Adopt a creative approach to learning
Doodling, drawing, and diagramming on a whiteboard can act as aids to memory and understanding. It is easy to create your own learning material with short videos, storyboards, or mind-mapping software to help you learn, memorize, and recall concepts.
5. Build models
Kinesthetic learners enjoy working with their hands, so model building and construction kits are right up their alley. Not only does model building help you become more dexterous, it also makes you a better planner, problem-solver, and logical thinker. Kinesthetic learners enjoy designing and creating physical models of things they learn about – think science exhibits, building blocks, posters, chemistry experiments, and the like.
6. Take frequent breaks
Kinesthetic learners tend to fidget and have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time. You will need to schedule regular breaks, depending on how long you can focus while studying. This will help you focus more when you are actually studying, so your study sessions will be more efficient.
7. Study and Exercise
Instead of cozying up on the couch with your notes, consider combining study sessions with short bursts of exercise. Shoot hoops, do jumping jacks, jump rope between chapters, or do burpees as your study buddy or friend quizzes you on the material. Combining study with exercise helps cement ideas in your brain and keeps you alert. Besides, kinesthetic learners need an outlet for their energy even, or especially when, they have to study.
If these study tips resonated with all you high-energy kinesthetic learners out there, what are you waiting for? Share your own tips and tricks in the comments. Let’s make learning productive, regardless of learning style!