If you are someone who has trouble sitting still for long periods of time, finds your concentration fading during lectures or long periods of work, and learns best through hands-on activities, you may be a kinesthetic learner. This means you may learn best when physically doing things, often by using your hands or body. You probably learn best when doing projects or using movement in lessons, which is very well suited for some types of classes, but not always!
Many classes throughout high school and college utilize a lecture format, which can be difficult to grasp if you are a kinesthetic learner. Although all of your classes will not cater to your particular learning style, there are certain tips you can use when studying that can benefit your learning style and help you retain more information.
- Take frequent breaks
Kinesthetic learners typically enjoy moving around and can get restless if they are sitting in one place for too long. If this sounds like you, you should consider adding built-in breaks to your study routine. Short breaks will allow your brain and body to rejuvenate and allow you to focus your energy on your task when you return. Your breaks should be active so they can allow you to get rid of your restlessness. Try taking a short walk outside, doing a set of push-ups or jumping-jacks, or doing some stretches every half hour.
- Create charts and diagrams
Since kinesthetic learners tend to learn best by doing, it often helps them to create charts and diagrams when studying. Being able to draw a process out allows the brain to see the connections between ideas. Rewriting concepts and ideas also helps cement them in your mind.
- Seek out experiences
Being able to physically see what you are learning about can be incredibly beneficial. If there is a place to which you can take a quick field trip to learn more about your concept, your kinesthetic learning style could benefit greatly. When a trip isn’t possible for your topic, try taking a virtual trip. Many museums around the country offer online visits! The more you can experience a topic, the more you will likely understand it.
- Use objects and manipulatives
Using objects and manipulatives to study can be very beneficial to kinesthetic learners. Using models in math subjects can be extremely helpful, but manipulatives can help in other subjects as well. Try to find a model or diorama for the concept that you are learning, take it apart, and put it back together to see how the pieces fit. If you can’t easily find one, consider creating your own.
- Make studying an activity
If you are a kinesthetic learner, you are likely the type of person who learns best from activities and games. When you are part of the learning process, you can retain information better. Create a game, even a simple one, to help you study for an upcoming quiz or test. It can be as easy as a flashcard game that you play with your peers, where you take turns answering questions. This is an activity that you can do on your own as well.
No two people learn the same way, and there is no “right” way to learn. Try different types of studying to test out what works the best for you. Test out different locations, whether it is in a quiet room or at a busy coffee shop. Try listening to music and studying in silence. Try studying standing up and sitting down at a desk. All of these factors can benefit different types of studiers, so it’s up to you to see what fits you best.
Brittany Phillips is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.