Seven learning styles for your child’s development

Learning styles refer to the variety of ways in which people retain information and develop an understanding of the world around them.

If you have multiple children, you can probably testify that no two kids grow up exactly the same. This holds true for learning as well — a child’s learning style is never textbook and cannot be simply put into a box. 

However, there are general categories of learning styles that children roughly fit into. Each learning style represents the unique way in which children process information. Theories behind these learning styles are built on the idea that individuals learn the best depending on their interests and strengths.

Understanding these different learning styles and molding your teaching methods to align with them is the best way to foster your child’s strengths and help them overcome their weaknesses. 

In this article, we discuss seven of the main learning styles for your child’s development. We also highlight how you can identify your child’s preferred learning style.

1) Inquiry-based learning 

The inquiry-based learning model can also be called the problem-solving model. Inquiry-based learning begins with a question, an idea, or an issue to be resolved. 

Children who often ask “why?” may be inquiry-based learners. They generally have strong analytical skills and are able to pinpoint a problem or query and then work their way to a solution. 

The inquiry-based learning approach involves children proposing investigations and carrying out research to seek answers to existing problems. During the inquiry process, children observe their surroundings, raise questions, offer solutions, and analyze their strategies. 

As explored in Raising Stars’ breakdown of the inquiry based learning model, inquiry-based learning approaches can motivate children to be analytical, active, creative, and collaborative. 

2) Spatial (visual) learning 

Visual learners are people who learn best through seeing or visualizing. Humans, in general, are highly visual learners — we learn every day by looking at people’s body language, expressions, and pictures around us. 

Children who are visual learners will typically learn better through photographs, graphics, or imagery than words. Instead of simply hearing facts spoken out loud, these children grasp concepts better when they are presented to them in the form of graphs, pictures, tables, maps, or diagrams. 

If your child seems to have a well-developed imagination and responds well to images/graphics, they might be a visual learner. Visual learners also show a keen interest in arts and are generally highly creative. So it’s a good idea to encourage their creativity.

3) Aural (auditory) learning 

Auditory learners learn through listening. This could include listening to lectures, reading aloud to themselves, or participating in discussions.

Children who enjoy music and prefer listening to podcasts/audiobooks may be classified as auditory learners. For these children, background noise can become a distraction, which is something important to keep in mind as a parent. 

4) Kinesthetic (physical) learning 

Kinesthetic learners are also sometimes called tactile learners. These children learn by touching, moving, and doing things. 

Instead of reading, visualizing, or hearing information, physical learners grasp concepts best when they can get hands-on with what is being taught. They are generally very active, may be sporty, have trouble sitting static for long periods, and work best when moving and playing an active role in their learning. 

Physical learners may struggle with traditional classroom settings but can thrive when presented with kinesthetic learning opportunities. 

5) Logical (mathematical) learning 

As the name suggests, logical learners are individuals who learn best through reasoning and logic. These people understand concepts when they are broken down into systems and processes and particularly thrive when their learning involves order, logic, and facts. 

Logical learners are generally methodological, precise, and organized, but they may struggle with creative and visual learning activities. They typically enjoy solving puzzles and show great potential with problem-solving approaches. 

6) Verbal (linguistic) learning 

Verbal or linguistic learners excel when it comes to language, whether spoken or written. These learners process information best through words, which can include listening to lectures, writing down notes, reading, or discussing the material at hand. 

Linguistic learners typically show strong skills in language and writing. They may be skilled at analyzing passages, writing down their thoughts, and eloquent in self-expression. These children may struggle with logical or mathematical styles of learning.

7) Interpersonal (social) learning 

Whether we realize this or not, we learn a lot every day from observing individuals and role models around us. This holds especially true for interpersonal or social learners, who perform best in social settings. 

These children may show interest in expressing their ideas, having group discussions, and working in a team (instead of alone). Social learners are generally extroverted and energetic, and love engaging with people’s energies and ideas. They perform best in collaborative, hands-on learning environments but may lack the confidence for engaging in activities alone. 

If your child is a n interpersonal learner, it’s important to also teach them the importance of intrapersonal learning. That’s because social learning is not always possible, especially when your child enters college.