ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Do Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Styles Exist?

Updated on April 14, 2021

What Are Learning Styles?

The idea behind learning styles is that students learn in different ways. Visual learners learn best by seeing information, such as pictures and colorful outlines. Auditory learners learn best by hearing, through lectures or recordings. Kinesthetic learners learn best through hands on assignments. About ninety percent of teachers believe these various learning styles exist. Many create lesson plans designed to teach material with these three learning styles in mind.

Do Learning Styles Actually Exist?

Yes and no. People do have preferences in how they learn. But those preferences don’t make them better learners, according to Cognitive Psychologist Daniel Willingham, a professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. There is no evidence that learning styles improve learning. Willingham says that students do learn differently and that teachers should take this into account. Some students love to learn and some don’t. Some students have more aptitude than others. Some have more background knowledge than others. Some students have learning disabilities. These are differences in cognitive ability rather than cognitive style.

Willingham acknowledges that students will often have preferences in how they learn. Some students may prefer lectures. Others may prefer videos and pictures. Some may enjoy hands on activities. But,

"when these tendencies are put to the test under controlled conditions, they make no difference—learning is equivalent whether students learn in the preferred mode or not."

Learning styles may not affect how much is learned
Learning styles may not affect how much is learned

Why Learning Styles Don't Impact Learning

Willingham gives the following example in his book Why Don't Students Like School. Anne, an auditory learner, and Victor, a visual learner, are given two lists of vocabulary words to learn. For the first list they listen to a recording. For the second, they look at a slide show of pictures representing the word meaning. Learning styles would predict that Anne would learn more words on list 1 and Victor would learn more words from list 2. Yet studies have found no difference in results based on learning style. The problem, according to Willingham, is that Anne and Victor need to remember what the words mean, rather than what they look or sound like. So, their learning style actually has no impact on their ability to remember word meaning.

A visual learner may have an advantage when it comes to memorizing the shapes of countries on maps. Auditory learners may have an advantage when learning proper pronunciation in a foreign language. But, Willingham says, most schooling involves mastering the meaning of things, not what they look or sound like.

What does this mean for teachers and homeschoolers? For teachers, creating lesson plans that cater to different learning styles may be more trouble than it's worth. For homeschoolers, a child may be more willing to study something if it’s presented in a way they prefer. Like with teachers though, catering to a particular learning style may sometimes be more trouble than it's worth, since the amount of material learned would be the same regardless of the method used to teach.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 JoanCA


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)