Friday, April 8, 2011

Sharpen Your Multisensory Learning Modalities

Multisensory Learning Modalities describe the way we use sensory information to learn or to process material into our memory...
• Visual - learn from seeing
• Auditory - learn from hearing
• Kinesthetic - learn from touching, doing, moving

Most people have one predominant learning modality. However, many people have a "balance" between two or even all three modalities. Once you know your primary modality of learning, you will know how to approach learning and how to apply the suggested aids to sharpen your multisensory learning modalities.
  • First complete the Self-Assessment of Modality Strengths to find out your strongest modality.
  • Then, refer to the Suggested Aids to Sharpen Multisensory Learning Modalities for specific hints and methods you can use to increase your learning power.
Self-Assessment of Modality Strengths
Read each question or statement and write down the answer that fits you best. Some will be difficult to answer, but try to respond according to how you would react most often.

1. You usually remember more from a class lecture when:
a. you do not take notes but listen very closely
b. you sit near the front of the room and watch the speaker
c. you take notes (whether or not you look at them again)

2. You usually solve problems by:
a. talking to yourself or a friend
b. using an organized, systematic approach with lists, schedules, etc.
c. walking, pacing, or some other physical activity

3. You remember phone numbers (when you can't write them down) by:
a. repeating the numbers orally
b. "seeing" or visualizing" the numbers in your mind
c. "writing" the numbers with your finger on a table or wall

4. You find it easiest to learn something new by:
a. listening to someone explain it
b. watching a demonstration of how to do it
c. trying it yourself

5. You remember most clearly from a movie:
a. what the characters said, background noises and music
b. the setting, scenery, and costumes
c. the feelings you experienced during the movie

6. When you go to the grocery store, you:
a. silently or orally repeat the grocery list
b. walk up and down the aisles to see what you need
c. usually remember what you need from the list you left at home

7. You are trying to remember something and so you:
a. hear in your mind what was said or the noises that occurred
b. try to see it happen in your mind
c. feel the way "it" reacted with your emotions

8. You learn a foreign language best by:
a. listening to records or tapes
b. writing and using workbooks
c. attending a class in which you read and write

9. You are confused about the correct spelling of a word and so you:
a. sound it out
b. try to "see" the word in your mind
c. write the word several different ways and choose the one that looks right

10. You enjoy reading the most when you can read:
a. dialogue between characters
b. descriptive passage that allow you to create mental picture
c. stories with a lot of action in the beginning (because you have a hard time sitting still)

11. You usually remember people you have met by their:
a. names (you forget faces)
b. faces (you forget names)
c. mannerisms, motions, etc.

12. You are distracted most by:
a. noises
b. people
c. environment (temperature, comfort of furniture, etc)

13. You usually dress:
a. fairly well (but clothes are not very important to you)
b. neatly (in a particular style)
c. comfortably (so you can move easily)

14. You can't do anything physical and you can't read, so you choose to:
a. talk with a friend
b. watch TV or look out a window
c. move slightly in your chair or bed

Self-Assessment of Modality Strengths Scoring

1. Count the total number of responses for each letter
a. ______ Auditory (learn best by hearing)
b. ______ Visual (learn best by seeing)
c. ______ Kinesthetic (learn best by touching, doing, moving)

2. Notice if one modality is significantly higher or lower, or if any two modalities are close in number.

3. Were the results as you expected them to be?

Characteristics of Multisensory Learning Modalities
Three of your five senses are primarily used in learning, storing, remembering, and recalling information. Your eyes, ears, and sense of touch play essential roles in the way you communicate, perceive reality, and relate to others. Because you learn from and communicate best with someone who shares your dominant modality, it is a great advantage for you to know the characteristics of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning modalities and to be able to identify them in others.

--Mind sometimes strays during verbal activities
--Observes rather than talks or acts
--Organized in approach to tasks
--Likes to read
--Usually a good speller
--Memorizes by seeing graphics & pictures
--Not too distractible
--Finds verbal instructions difficult
--Meticulous, neat in appearance
--Remembers faces
--Quiet by nature
--Uses advanced planning
--Has good handwriting
--Notices details

--Enjoys listening activities
--Enjoys talking
--Whispers to self while reading
--Likes to be read to
--Talks to self aloud
--Memorizes by steps in a sequence
--Easily distracted
--Has more difficulty with written directions
--Enjoys music
--Remembers faces
--Outgoing by nature
--Hums or sings

--Enjoys doing activities
--Likes physical rewards
--Likes to touch people when talking to them
--Reading is not a priority
--Poor speller
--Taps pencil or foot while studying
--Will try new things
--Uses hands while talking
--Dresses for comfort
--Enjoys handling objects
--Outgoing by nature
--In motion most of the time
--Expresses emotions through physical means
--Likes to solve problems by physically working through them

Suggested Aids to Sharpen Multisensory Learning Modalities
Use these aids to sharpen your particular dominant learning modality or to strengthen a weaker one. Try to be aware of the different activities you do daily to help all three of your modalities.

--Use guided imagery
--Form pictures in your mind
--Take notes
--See parts of words
--Use "cue" words
--Use notebooks
--Use color codes
--Use study cards
--Use photographic pictures
--Watch TV, movies
--Use charts and graphs
--Use maps
--Use mnemonics (acronyms, visual chains, mind maps, acrostics)
--Draw or use drawings
--Use exhibits
--Watch lips move in front of a mirror

--Use tapes
--Listen to music
--Speak/listen to speakers
--Make up rhymes/poems
--Read aloud
--Talk to yourself
--Repeat things orally
--Use rhythmic sounds
--Have discussions
--Watch TV
--Listen carefully
--Use oral directions
--Sound out words
--Use theater
--Use mnemonics (word links, rhymes, poems, lyrics)
--Say words in syllables

--Pace/walk as you study
--Practice by repeated motion
--Physically "do it"
--Breathe slowly
--Role play
--Write on surfaces with finger
--Take notes
--Associate feelings with concept/information
--Write lists repeatedly
--Stretch/move in chair
--Watch lips move in front of a mirror
--Use mnemonics (word links, rhymes, poems, lyrics)

(c) 2011 beth willis miller

What are your thoughts about this post?
      In what ways might you apply these multisensory learning modalities in your everyday life?
            Have you found that these suggested aids sharpen your multisensory learning modalities?


  1. Thank you for pointing me to this fascinating post, Beth. It reinforced to me that I'm a very visual learner!

  2. Linda, thank you for your comment, and for your honest, transparent description of your feelings as an adoptee experiencing the mirroring of seeing yourself in your daughter and granddaughter in your blog post...
    Your description of what you were doing when this moment occurred, reminded me of this post on multisensory learning...I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)


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