Tips on How to Tailor to Specific Learning Styles

Instructional design is not for the faint of heart. You are designing modules for people to look at and learn from, and most of the time it’s not easy. There are three general types of learning styles in the world – auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Although people tend to learn from all styles, they generally lean towards a specific style. As an instructional designer, you have to try your best to tailor that learning to fit the needs of who your audience is and how they learn best. As an instructional designer, creativity is key when you are trying to teach a broad audience with different learning styles.

Tips for Auditory learners: This type of learner learns best when they hear information rather than seeing information. So here are some tips to tailor your information to auditory learners:

  1. Incorporate audio into the information you are presenting. Depending upon what information you are presenting; a podcast, webinar, or recording audio would be helpful tools for auditory learners.
  2. Encourage this type of learner to recite the information out loud. Auditory learners will retain the information better this way.
  3. Another tip is to incorporate discussion or collaborative learning into your design. If it is applicable, auditory learners learn best when discussing information with their peers.

Tips for visual learners: This type of learner learns best when they are able to look at the information. Here’s a few tips to help visual learners succeed:

  1. Graphics are key to tailor your information to visual learners. If applicable, make charts or graphs. It will make a huge difference for visual learners to take in the information.
  2. If you are explaining how to do something set-by-step, make a demonstration video of it. It’ll help visual learners follow the information better.
  3. Give them something to read. Maybe reference a book or type out the information and give it out to them.

Tips for kinesthetic learners: This type of learner learns best when they can get hands on with a project and be able to physically touch something. Here are a few tips to get kinesthetic learners excited about the material:

  1. Allow kinesthetic learners to get hands on with a project. Give them a task to do where they are physically creating something. This will help them better understand the information that you are trying to get across. Things like making posters and making flashcards are most helpful for kinesthetic learners.
  2. Encourage them to write the information down instead of just listening to it or looking at it. When they engage their hands with writing it down, they are more likely to retain the information.
  3. This may sound silly, but allow this type of learner to fidget. Sometimes tapping a pencil or doodling really helps them focus and remember all of that information that you spent hours working on.

When designing a module keep these tips in mind to best tailor your information to your audience. You don’t want all that hard work to fall flat when your audience doesn’t remember a word of what you spent hours working on. Now, you have more tools to better suit your audience and make sure that they remember it for years to come. If you have any ideas on how to best reach a learner, comment below! We’d love to hear from you!

Ashlee is an Intermediate Instructional and Graphic Designer on the Learning and Professional Development team and has a background in Graphic Design and Photography. With over eight years of Photography and Graphic Design experience, Ashlee brings a unique talent and perspective to the team. She joined the Learning & Professional Development team in 2014 as a student worker and now works full time as an Instructional & Graphic Designer. She primarily works with Adobe products and is using her knowledge to help develop exciting new trainings. This opportunity allows Ashlee to reach out to the NAU community and create interactive ways students and staff can learn.

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