According to some educational theorists, there are as many as nine different types of intelligence and multiple styles of learning. Tactile or kinesthetic learners are those who learn through experiencing and doing things.
How Tactile Learners Learn
Tactile learners like to experience the world and act out events. To remember a phone number, tactile learners may remember the pattern of their fingers as they press the numbers on a phone or keypad.
Tactile learners can remember complicated directions once they've acted them out.
Look over these traits to see if they sound familiar to you. You may be a tactile learner if you are someone who:
- Is good at sports
- Can't sit still for long
- Is not great at spelling
- Does not have great handwriting
- Likes science lab
- Studies with loud music on
- Likes adventure books, movies
- Likes role-playing
- Takes breaks when studying
- Builds models
- Is involved in martial arts or dance
- Is fidgety during lectures
Challenges for Tactile Learners
Because tactile learners learn best through movement, they may become bored more quickly than other students while listening to a class lecture. They may also find it difficult to focus on long lectures, write extended essays, or read for extended periods of time.
Study Tips for Tactile Learners
An active study is good for every student. But it is especially important for the tactile learner to use active study strategies when preparing for a school exam. Tactile learners need to be actively involved as they receive and process new information. Kinesthetic learners can benefit from:
- Studying in short blocks of time
- Taking lab classes
- Taking field trips or visiting museums
- Studying with others
- Using memory games
- Using flashcards to memorize
- Using a smart pen for taking notes. A smartpen records audio content that takes place while the student is taking notes. That means that students can go back to review class notes and listen to any lecture that took place as the student recorded notes.
- "Acting out" the topics, stories, and subjects they study. For example, activities like reacting to the past enable students to immerse themselves in the topics and "experience" subjects they study.
Tactile learners may choose to use the Journey Method for memorizing new information (mentally placing concepts in a location). Learning games and group activities are good tactics for the tactile learner. The more active this student can be during study time, the more information that study is likely to retain.
When preparing for an exam of any type, the tactile learner should practice writing a test essay (make up your own essay questions). Write the first essay using the textbook as a guide, then practice the essay several times in preparation for test day.
Opportunities for Tactile Learners
Certain types of classes are likely to appeal to tactile learners. For example, tactile learners will thrive in the sciences that include a lab experience. They are also likely to do well in classes that combine hands-on and conceptual learning such as:
- Culinary arts
- Home economics
- Early childhood development
- Theater or other performing arts
- Visual arts (sculpture, for example)
If you are a tactile learner in a high school or college setting, consider choosing electives or a major that makes the most of your strengths.