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How can I adapt to different learning styles?

The Writing Center

How can I adapt to different learning styles?

There are three main types of learning styles: Visual, Audio, and Kinesthetic (learning through feeling and movement). It is beneficial to ask your students questions that may indicate their learning style. For example, “Do you prefer to talk things out or see a picture?” Then you can adapt your tutoring style accordingly. You are not obligated to do this, and it may not be viable for all sessions, but it is a nice way to be extra helpful if you can.
Adapting to these different learning styles can involve breaking out of your tutoring comfort zone to use a teaching style that is different from those you normally use, and it certainly requires an element of creativity. An individual student may also require a variety of learning styles in a given session, depending on the kind of information learned and instruction given. If you are unsure about the best learning style for your student, you may consider cycling between the different styles as the session progresses. Online you may find a plethora of tips and resources; Figure 8 on the next page presents a few of the most common ones.

Figure 8. Techniques for Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Learner


Use highlighters to break up sentence parts or emphasize different parts of speech. Consider circling or using another drawn visual representation to demonstrate structure of parts of a paragraph or paper. Use colored index cards or colored paper to represent different sections of the essay.


Read aloud the sentence/part of a sentence/paragraph containing an error. Then explain what’s wrong and why. Have the student explain orally how to correct the problem.


Use erasers/paper clips/pens/pencils/etc. to represent parts of a sentence or paragraph and have students manually move them around to “construct” the proper order/organization.