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Learning Styles: The Tactile/Kinesthetic Learner


Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners learn through moving, doing, and touching...

These students like a "hands-on” approach to learning. They learn best by doing and by being directly or emotionally involved in their learning. They process information as their body moves. Because the entire body is involved, this type of student takes longer to process new information.

Tactile Learners learn best through their sense of touch, such as using their hands and fingers. They learn best by writing, drawing, taking notes, using hands-on manipulatives, and involving their emotions and feelings while learning.



Kinesthetic Learners learn best through movement of their large or gross motor muscles. They take in information best when they are moving. Movement includes learning while doing, being involved in projects, discovery, role-playing, simulations, real-life activities, and learning while standing up or using the large arm muscles to write on a flip chart or chalkboard.  Some kinesthetic learners seem fidgety, having a hard time sitting still in class.

Are you a tactile/kinesthetic learner?


  • Involve the sense of touch in learning?
  • Like to do artwork?
  • Like to piece things together?
  • Like to doodle?
  • Like to trace words and pictures?
  • Succeed with tasks requiring manipulation?
  • Like to chew gum while studying?
  • Often fidget or finds reasons to move?
  • Have a hard time paying attention to visual or auditory presentations?
  • Want to be "doing" something?
  • Try things out?
  • Talk with your hands?
  • Get accused of being a poor listener?
  • Have a hard time being still when music is playing?
  • Learn better when able to move during learning?
  • Like to move hands (doodling, tapping) while learning?
  • Use movement to help concentrate?
  • Like to take frequent study breaks?
  • Like to work standing up?
  • Use bright colors to highlight reading material?
  • Like to listen to music while studying?
  • Like to skim through reading material to get a rough idea what it is about before settling down to read it in detail?
  • Have good fine and gross motor skills?

Strategies and Tips: Tactile Learners

Tactile learners benefit from the act of creating a study aid such as a chart, diagram, or matrix.  The act of creating the study aid is often the most beneficial exercise to help with retention of information. They learn by doing and by being intricately involved in the creation process.

  • Find out your secondary learning mode, and use those strategies.
  • Keep something in your hand that is malleable. Knead or tap to a rhythm (Baroque Music – NOT TV) as you study.
  • Translate what you are learning into something that can be touched, such as note cards.
  • Use concrete objects to help you understand math concepts.
  • With spelling and vocabulary, trace your word in salt or sand, or use magnetic letters to spell out the word.
  • Use maps, globes, and puzzles to study history and geography.
  • Teach the information you learn to another.
  • Have someone talk through the information while you are doing something active.
  • Get organized!

Ways to adapt:  Try making flashcards for new vocabulary or name, date, and event recall.  Try closing your eyes and writing the information in the air or on a surface with your finger. Try to picture the words in your head as you are doing this. Try to hear the words in your head, too.

Strategies and Tips: Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners best learn by doing. They may be avid note takers in class but not review them later; they remember things that were seen, done, or discussed.

  • Study important information by placing facts on index cards and reading the information aloud while pacing or walking around.
  • Try studying while lying on a bed or the floor or listening to Baroque music. 
  • In class, when it is necessary to be still, bounce your foot, twirl a pen, or squeeze a ball. Just be sure you are not distracting those around you. 
  • Set a timer for 20-30 minutes. Work for this amount of time, and then take a 5- or 10-minute break. 
  • Use brightly colored paper under worksheets or study materials to help you focus.
  • Write vocabulary words on paper with glue. Sprinkle sand or glitter on top. When studying for tests, trace the words with your eyes closed.
  • Read novels, articles, and texts while pedaling on a stationary bike or climbing a Stairmaster. 

Ways to Adapt: Use role-play to gain further understanding of key concepts. Try studying in small groups.  Type notes to prep for tests and quizzes.  Try reciting new material while pacing.