There are many different types of learners and your environment should, ideally, be able to accommodate them all. Scientists and psychologists have developed a number of different models to understand the different ways that people learn best. The VARK model, identifies four primary types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Each learning type responds best to a different method of teaching and the learning environment can help support these different teaching tactics. Visual learners prefer to see information and to visualize the relationship between ideas. Auditory learners absorb information better when they can hear it and then have the opportunity to verbally express what they’ve learned. Reading/writing learners do best when they can learn material by reading and then have the chance to write what they’ve learned. Kinesthetic learners will jump at the chance to participate in a hands-on activity and learn best by doing.
Following are some tips on how to organize your learning environment to best support these different types of learners.
Visual: Your classroom should have various places to display charts, graphs, and other types of graphics. Make use of dry erase boards or a Smart Board to note important information and encourage students to take notes, use a highlighter, or make lists to organize their thoughts.
Auditory: Provide areas for small group learning and conversations about the subject matter. In these groups, students can review and discuss material orally, as well as read aloud to each other and ask questions. It is also important to have areas for individual study where students can read aloud to themselves.
Reading/Writing: This type of learner will learn best if they have easy access to a variety of places in which to comfortably take notes and jot down ideas. Tables can serve well for this purpose, but benches also double as a writing surface for those who prefer to work on the floor. Seating units with removable cushions can also be used as a table top when the cushion is removed and placed on the floor.
Kinesthetic: Tables, benches, and mobile seating all facilitate working collaboratively and will support project based learning. Furniture that can easily be moved into different configurations to accommodate a particular lesson or to make more room for movement, is also essential in facilitating learning for kinesthetic learners.
Everyone benefits when students’ individual learning needs are met. Creating an environment that helps students access information in terms that they are comfortable with will help them be more engaged, more confident, and more successful learners. Request our free catalog to learn how our design team at Natural Pod create furniture for children in child care, pre-school and from ages K-12 using sustainably harvested forest material.