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Learning Styles

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Tina Van Mosseveld

on 24 January 2016

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Transcript of Learning Styles

Learning Styles from Infant to Adult
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Learning styles from infancy to adulthood, refers to the ways in which people require different teaching methods in order to learn, and how these styles evolve throughout an individuals learning journey. Covered are visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, social and solitary learning styles. Defining how an individual best learns gives them the greatest opportunity for success.
Visual learning

"Visual thinking is a learning style where the learner better understands and retains information when ideas, words and concepts are associated with images.” (Inspiration.com, 2015) Visual learners often use phrases such as “I never forget a face” and “I can’t quite picture it.


A infant has some visual abilities from birth but it is not until a child is approximately one month old that they are able to focus at will. However “some evidence obtained by Haith (1966) suggests that infants at five days of age may be sensitive to visual movement."


Toddlers who are visual learners, will often be the child who reads books and plays puzzles. They will often be seen watching peoples mouths as they speak and watch their hands when they are demonstrating something (S.Robledo).


According to Inge Cannon (from the Home School Legal Denfense Association, 2005) at primary school age, children who are visual learners will take lots of notes, be very organised, are easily distracted by visual stimuli and tend to have a vivid imagination.

During adolescence visual learners “learn best by seeing what they are taught.” (M.Kelly, 2014) If the teacher is to use images, maps and graphs their students will have a better chance of retaining the information given. They will often highlight things of importance and take notes even when told they will be given a handout.


An adult visual learner prefers to see things written down with photos and visual aids to support the writing. They remember things by seeing them and as an adult they can draw on their experiences and what they have seen in the past to use as a resource for their learning.

Auditory learner

Auditory learning is a learning style in which a person learns best through listening, hearing and speaking. Auditory learners remember what they hear more clearly than what they see or feel. Auditory learners enjoy talking and listening. Information becomes real to them through discussions (Sprenger,2005).


Auditory learning capabilities in infants are still immature and need to develop. However, infants still have the capability to distinguish speech sounds and recognise voices (Hecox, 1975).

Toddlers who are auditory learners, learn best through listening to songs and music and when they are reading stories. They understand information best when given verbal instructions (Markova & Powell, 1992 ).

Children who are auditory learners, learn best through joining in discussions and talking things through. They like to read aloud and either talk to themselves or with others about their learning (Moskowitz-Sweet, 2009).

Secondary students who are auditory learners, prefer listening to explanations over reading them and might choose to study by rehearsing information aloud. They prefer to learn by watching videos and listening to audio tapes. They achieve well in group discussions (Bagget,1989).

Adult auditory learners, learn best through listening to speeches, discussions, and through audio presentations. Adults prefer to hear information or instructions that are being given and perform well in gatherings or conferences (Sprenger, 2008).
Kinaesthetic/Tactile/Active Learner

Kinaesthetic/Tactile learners require a ‘hands on’ approach to learning. They require physical involvement in order to better understand their subject and often struggle in situations where they are required to sit still for long periods of time. They learn best by applying what they have learnt in a practical manner (Roell, K, 2014).


Infants are perfect examples of a kinaesthetic learner. Everything they come into contact with is explored and experienced with their hands, which is how they learn about the world around them (Malone, S, 2003).


Toddlers are predominantly tactile learners. They like to play and touch things to learn about them and do not like to be made to sit still in a classroom style environment (Charlesworth, R, 2013).


Kinaesthetic primary learners will discover more about a topic on an excursion by physically seeing and touching the subject. They are sometimes misdiagnosed as troublemakers because of their inability to sit still for long periods (Baker, F, Kidspot).

Kinaesthetic secondary learners learn best through doing. They will often recall how something felt whilst doing an activity rather than trying to recall what someone said or something that they read (Toplis, R and Frost, J, 2010).

During adult education courses kinaesthetic learners require activities such as acting out scenarios, to give them the best opportunity to recall this learning at a later time (Materna, L, 2007).

Social Learning

Social learning is one of the foundations of human development over a life span. (Baltes, Lindenberger & Staudinger, n.d.) Social learning suggests that people learn from one another through observation, imitation and modelling. This learning theory focuses on the link between behaviourist and cognitive learning, encompassing attention, memory and motivation (Bandura, 1977).


In infancy, social and cognitive learning appears in the context of face to face interaction. This can be shown when an infant responds to a smile with a smile, and later imitates other facial expressions and sounds. (Bahrick, Hernandez-Reif & Flom, 2005)


Toddlers use social learning skills by observing and emulating people around them. (Zentall & Galef, 2013) This is often displayed as playing house, or pretending to be a superhero (Purdy, 2015). For young children imitation is a key factor in healthy social development (Purdy, 2015).

At primary school age, children develop social learning skills such as, socialisation, social values and self-awareness. This behaviour allows children to observe others and develop a perception of themselves and how they function within their society (Saracho & Spodek, 2007).


During adolescence new social and cognitive behaviours are developed which transition teenagers from childhood to adulthood. A significant social learning behaviour for adolescents is risk taking. This is an important skill which allows the adolescent to shape their identity, make important decisions and evaluate themselves, others and society (Association & others, 2002).


Social learning in adulthood is shown in the development of transforming experience into knowledge. Through reflection of memories an adult can process new meaning and understanding from an experience or situation (Jarvis, 2011).
(Early Moments, 2015)
(Everage, 2015)
(Golden Bay Primary School, 2015)
(Mercer, 2015)
(Studies in Australia, 2015)
(Wolfe Boynton, 2015)
(Oxford University Press ELT, 2015)
(St. Francis Xavier University, 2016)
(AlphaZeta, 2014)
(Melina, 2011)
(San Francisco Unified School District, 2015)
(Cobram Primary School, 2015)
(Townsend, 2014)
(Symptoms of Adult ADHD, 2015)
From infancy to adulthood development continues and, as explored, each persons need for learning can be vastly different. Visual learners learn best through viewing something and auditory learners require the ability to hear that information in order to gain the same knowledge. Kinaesthetic learners need to be able to touch and explore in order to understand and social learners learn best through their interactions with others. Self-awareness of ones learning style, as well as being exposed to teachers who are adaptable in their teachings, establishes the best result for everyone.
Reference list :
(Lewis, 2013)
(K5 Learning, 2014)
(Parent & Child Magazine, 2015)
(Dyslexia Victoria, 2015)
(Hochwald, 2016)
(KERA, 2016)
(BBC Active, 2010)
(Coomera Anglican College, 2015)
(Slomp, 2015)
(iStockphoto LP, 2016)
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