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I was under the impression that the visual learner likes to see the written word; however, your information seems to dispute that. Am I interpreting it incorrectly?

Hi Kim,
A visual learner is one that likes to see pictures or objects. They can internalize new knowledge through the spatial or pictorial method. They most often like to combine the objects or pictures they see with hands on or tactile activities so there is a combination of learning preferences working for them.

As someone who had obtained a Master's in Education fairly recently (a couple years ago), I share Kim's initial conception. From the material and sources included in my Master's courses, I had also gathered that, in regard to general preferences, there tended to be three primary categories of learner styles or preferences -- visual, audio, and tactile/kinesthetic. According to many of the definitions and descriptions I had encountered, the visual style tended to incorporate some focus on written material as well, considering this would be visually apprehended or perceived.

In this current course I observed that this focus on the written word was presented as a separate category, and based on the explanations I suppose this may make sense. The definition seems to emphasize the actual process of reading in which the words seem to trigger a kind of visualization within the learner's mind, so there is clearly an element of visual style on a cognitive level. But I think I see the point of this presentation in that the description of the visual style seems to emphasize more a matter of visual or graphical elements beyond printed words, such as color, shapes, and ultimately more obvious media such as pictures and diagrams. So I think I can accept such a justification of categorizations.

Hi Vincent,
Good discussion in the forum about the different learning preferences. Over the years and based upon the research I have done in the area of multiple intelligences in relation to learning and mental processing I feel that individuals have learning preferences more so than just a learning style. I'm not sure what a style is related to mental processing but I am clear on what an intelligence is such as verbal, math logic, or musical. Thus, the categories that are listed having four categories. The research by the Dunn's, Calvin and Rita put the learning styles into the three major learning style categories. Since much of the knowledge content we acquire is through the written or printed word I have found that it is good know if my students have a preference for this form of knowledge intake as well as knowing that other students prefer other intakes modes. This information allows me to plan my delivery accordingly.

I take it as someone who learns by seeing it work rather than reading about how it works.

Hi Craig,
Human brains operate in different ways and so each person has a unique way of taking in and processing information. Some see objects others prefer to read material about the content. That is why instructors need to offer a variety of different deliveries so they can keep the students interested in the content plus absorbing it in their own preferred way.

Yeah, am I hearing you correctly.


I was under the same assumption. Is that wrong?

I agree, I am a visual learner, actually when I looked at the categories Gardner has I fit more than three, and utilize all of them. Perhaps visual and written word learners overlap a lot.

Hi Donna,
There is some overlap on all of them so it is not uncommon for a learner to be comfortable working in a number of the different intelligence areas. In my research I have found through an assessment I developed I have been able to identify the three dominant intelligences but that does not exclude the other intelligences it just gives us a starting point in planning instructional delivery for our students. This helps in planning for delivery options and content selection.

In my world I teach pastry students,they are very visual and auditory learnerss and I follow after with culinary students who are kinesthetic learners. This is very challenging when you teach two identical lab classes back to back and requires two completely differenmt teaching styles.

Hi Joseph,
I commend you on your ability and willingness to modify your instructional delivery based upon the needs of your students and their learning preferences.

Visual learners need to be decribed or inspired to see a mental picture from an instructors words.

A picture and/or diagram are needed to establish or reinforce the mental image.

One can enable a visual learner or make their own mental picture and share it with you or the rest of the class. This is neede to bolster ther confidense in the (blizzard of words)traditional
auditory/verbal/written classroom.

After reading this entire thread, I am curious about the percentage of research that uses three preferences versus the percentage that uses four preferences. Could you elaborate on the breakdown? I'm not opposed to incorporating new or emerging ideas into my toolbox, but I'm wondering about the prevalence of four preferences.

Hi Julia,
Over the past 25 years I have been researching the learning and processing preferences of learners using their multiple intelligences. I have administered the my MI assessment entitled "Talent Key" to 25,135 individuals. In analyzing the results 27% of the respondents use their three dominant intelligences. Four percent use four dominant intelligences in their processing. You can see there is a dramatic drop after 3. Individuals using one or two dominant intelligences is very low as well. Based upon this data the use of three dominant intelligences is the most frequent and comfortable for the learners.
If you have any other questions about multiple intelligences please feel free to contact me.

Gary, let me clarify my question. I was currious what percentage of the research breaks learner intake preferences into three methods: audio, visual, and kinesthetic; versus the percentage of research that breaks learner intake preferences into four methods: audio, visual, written and kinesthetic?


Hi Julia,
Sorry for the misunderstanding. I thought you were referring to the 7 multiple intelligences and the dominants within those categories.
Within learning preferences research has found that learners generally balance out close to even in terms of learning preferences within a typical class setting. Exceptions to this are the more manipulative courses where the tactile learners seem to concentrate.

Well as a fossil from the previous century, I recall the learning categories were three.

I have the same issue today as then, to identify the student with the domanate learning style and apply the correct style to enhance their learning.

We have had tastes of these learning styles throughout the ED 101-108, but how to engage the physical learning with the visual an audio. the most fun I've had in class is to divide the class into three groups and have one describe a part of the chapter by mime only, no words or noise. Another groups can use sound but no words. The remaining group everyone reads the same part of the chapter text, but one word later than the other.
Then I ask the class which group did they learn the most from...

I understand the theory of this type of learning, but I myself learn better by example. Could anyone give me a specific example, such as an excerpt of written text followed by the image that a learner might create in his/her mind?

I would really appreciate some feedback on this. Thanks.

After reading this thread myself, I am wondering if Julia's original question is not basically the same question that I have. Of all the professional theorists, (not including those who work with 7 or 9 MI) how many "buy into" the "fact" that there are four types instead of only three? Or was the fourth type a refinement of the "three" theory developed at a later date?

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