Different Learning Modalities

How do individuals like to receive new or difficult information?

Roll the cursor over the learners below to reveal each person's strongest perceptual preference.

Click on each person in turn to discover a wide range of auditory,,visual, tactile or kinaesthetic teaching, learning or working-style strategies.
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Layers of Learning

It would be simplistic to suggest that learning style refers solely to perceptual preference, which some models seem to imply. However, many individuals exhibit preferences for particular learning modalities: auditory, visual (word and/or picture), tactile or kinaesthetic.


Such learners benefit when they are first exposed to new and difficult information in their strongest learning modality. The work can then be reinforced in a different modality, for example the learner's second strength or preference. Dual-coding (double-processing) the information increases the likelihood of the learner internalising and remembering it.


“Learning Styles keeps students on task and motivated. All the perceptual styles layered in one lesson gives each child an entry point into the lesson. There is variety for the class. Lessons delivered in chunks give closure for globals and analytics. Having students prepare their own perceptual components is a form of rehearsal time thus transferring from short-term to long-term memory. In planning and making the materials, higher level thinking skills are invoked, especially analysis, evaluation and eventually creating, thus creating extra pathways into the brain...and, very importantly, developing thinking skills. When the materials are placed into the class library there is a selection for students to use to reinforce the learning in their second modality. This approach also frees the teacher to cruise the room and provide formative assessment.” 

Alan Cooper, Former Headmaster, Education Consultant


Team Learning activities, Multi-sensory Instructional Packages and Contract Activity Packages are excellent ways of addressing individual preferences both in the classroom and for homework. Talk to ILSA about training your staff in these highly successful tools.

Including a range of sensory approaches in the course of a lesson allows different types of learners to engage with the content. The attached table may prove a useful starting point when planning a unit of work. You are welcome to print it for your personal use only.