Instructional Design: Adapting Your Lesson to Different Learning Styles

No matter what kind of lesson you’re working on developing, the fact remains that you’re likely to have “students” with vastly different backgrounds and ways of learning. As such, you face the challenge of coming up with an instructional design that’s suitable for all types of learners. Generally, the three main learning styles you’re likely to encounter include:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinesthetic

By understanding what each of these styles entails and how to plan your lesson to suit each type, you’ll be well on your way to a successful lesson in no time.

Visual learners

As the term implies, visual learners are those who learn by seeing things demonstrated in front of their eyes. These types of learners also tend to prefer working from a set of lists or written directions and may be more mathematically inclined as well (due to a preference for following trusted algorithms and formulas).

To accommodate visual learners, try to implement and utilize plenty of diagrams and flow charts, checklists, and formulas. Furthermore, complete demonstrations whenever possible.

Auditory learners

Unlike visual learners, auditory learners rely more on listening to learn about a new concept or idea. These also tend to be the types of people who prefer giving or receiving directions over the telephone and always seem to have the lyrics to songs memorized. These types of learners also tend to take the most notes.

These types of learners tend to do best with lessons that incorporate short lectures, engaging conversations (Q&As, for example) about the subject matter, or having to give verbal summaries about the material they’ve been working with.

Kinesthetic/tactile Learners

Finally, there’s the category of kinesthetic or tactile learners; this group need to physically experience something in order to truly understand it. They have a tendency to prefer hand-on learning that involves touching, feeling, and actually doing the activity being taught. These people also tend to be the ones who are more on the creative side and would rather come up with their own way of doing things rather than following a strict list of steps.

To help connect with kinesthetic learners in lesson planning, lesson planners should try to incorporate real-time, hands-on exercises that allow the learner to complete the tasks being discussed, such as computer modules. Coming up with “role play” scenarios in an in-person training session can also be a great way to reach tactile learners.

Instructional design that accommodates visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners does take some practice, but by keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to success.

Share your instructional design knowledge with your coworkers here!

Image Source: Giphy

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