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Learning Styles: Kinesthetic-Naturalistic

Explanations and strategies for different types of learning styles.

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Tips and Strategies

Teacher Lecture

  • ask questions and participate in discussions whenever possible
  • question the relevance and applicability to the course, yourself, and life in general
  • take a small object (eg. stress-ball) to class to play with in one hand while the other takes notes
  • use class breaks to stand up and stretch

Text or Print Learning

  • do something physical before sitting down to read or study
  • highlight, underline, or take notes
  • use your fingers or a piece of paper to help keep track of where you are
  • break reading tasks into small chunks
  • stop after each chunk, think about what you learned, and write a brief summary
  • personalize the information - think about how the concepts apply to you or other people you know
  • think about how you can use the information outside the classroom or course
  • take regular, brief breaks to move around
  • use the discussion or practice questions in the textbook or study guide to help rehearse information - if none are available, make up your own questions as you study
  • move a body part (eg. swing or tap your foot), or walk around if it helps you concentrate
  • write processes, etc. on cards, mix them up, then practice physically arranging them into the correct sequence
  • if you typically use your hands when talking to people, try using your hands when studying and explaining concepts to yourself

How to learn best

You will learn best by:

  • making models of information
  • breaking information into steps rather than trying to deal with it as a whole
  • writing facts or spelling words repeatedly
  • exercising while studying as movement helps reinforce learning
  • using rhythm to help with memorization
  • making flas cards to record information for revision
  • underlining or taking notes while reading


Is this you?

Have you ever found that you can think clearly when you are exercising or doing something like going for a walk?

Do you often find yourself getting up from your desk just to move around?

Do you enjoy physical activities like sports and making things with your hands? If so, then you have a tendency toward the physical learning style.

It may be that you like doing detailed tasks with your hands such as sewing or carving.

You may enjoy "getting your hands dirty" with manual labor like gardening.

Or it could be that you seem to have a strong sense of feel to notice differences in textures or fabric.

You could be the type of person who seems to "talk with their hands." As a child you may have been inclined to take your toys apart just to see how they worked.

A person with a physical learning style may often say these phrases:

  • This feels like the right thing to do.
  • I can't get a handle on the situation.
  • Let's keep in touch.
  • I follow your drift.
  • They need to get a grip.
  • That idea just does not sit right with me.
  • My gut instinct is...

Implications for learning

Do you feel trapped in the classroom? Just listening to someone else talk does not appeal to them. They feel the desire to "get up and move around."

When you are in class it should help if you are active with taking notes.

The act of taking notes will keep your hands and mind busy.

As things are being described try to imagine what they would feel like if you were actively doing them.

For example, if you are studying about forests try to imagine going on a hike. Think about the sensations of walking up a steep hill. Imagine how tired your legs and feet would feel. Identify what sounds you might hear and the smells you might encounter.

As you are preparing your materials for revision, use physical objects as much as possible.

This may be in the form of flash cards for math or manipulatives to help you organize mathematical concepts. If you are studying a subject like biology, as much as possible try to actually hold, touch, and feel the objects being studied.

Experiential learning is when you get out of the classroom or away from the computer and actually "experience" what you are studying. Reflect on your elementary learning experiences. It may be that you recall the "field trips" as much as any other learning strategies. 

If possible, you may also find it useful to do role playing to "act out" the concepts that you are studying. (Accessed 19 Mar 2013)

Naturalistic Learner

Credit: Ian Roberts

You Are a Naturalistic Learner

Your mantra: Let's investigate the natural world.

Naturalistic learners often understand the patterns of living things, and they apply scientific reasoning to the world. You recognize (and can classify) different types of plants or animals. You also empathize with animals. Some well-known careers for those with naturalistic intelligence are farmer, naturalist, animal behaviorist, and scientist.

Tips for the way you learn:

  • Observe and record data.
  • Create a "living system" for the material you are trying to learn. Imagine the new material as an ecosystem or a pattern for you to figure out.
  • Write about nature, daily life, or people as a topic so you become engaged in your assignment.