What Is Kinesthetic Learning?

Some people learn information better when it is directly related to practice (games, sports, experiments, real-life examples). This type of training, using a practical component, is called kinesthetic learning.

The kinesthetic tactile learning style is a learning style in which students acquire knowledge through physical activity, instead of listening to lectures or watching instructional videos.

Neil Fleming, a New Zealand teacher and educational theorist, has developed the VARK model (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic information, as well as reading and writing). According to her, kinesthetic learners prefer physical interaction, which makes them better able to assimilate information based on experience. They succeed in specific circumstances: on-the-job training, internships, and solving business cases.

How Do Kinesthetic Learners Learn?

As stated above, kinesthetic memory reacts more to practical experience than to theoretical information. In order for a kinesthetic to remember something, he needs to touch it, perhaps construct something with his own hands, or see specific examples. Kinesthetic memory works well, for instance, when a person learns to skate, by physical learning. Figure skating theory will not give you much: you can only learn to skate by constantly practicing

The kinesthetic learning style does not necessarily have to be directly related to the object that is being studied. For example, a kinesthetic learner can learn poetry while simultaneously modeling from plasticine. His modeling has nothing to do with the poem he needs to learn, but it helps him memorize the lines by engaging his motor skills.

Kinesthetic learners act, check and analyze. They learn by memorizing algorithms. It is important for them to understand why a particular rule is needed. What's the use of a theorem? How will it help in life? When working with kinesthetic learners, it is necessary to give them answers to these questions, to show the scope of application of the studied material in practice.

In no case should other channels of perception be neglected. They need to be used to the maximum. It is important to be patient and still explain, show again and again. The effectiveness of the learning process directly depends on the number of open channels and the level of their development.

Characteristics of Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners exhibit a range of characteristics that highlight their unique learning style. While these traits may vary in intensity among individuals, understanding these key features can significantly enhance their educational experience.

1. Physical Education:

Kinesthetic learners have a strong need for physical activity, often struggling to remain still for extended periods. They tend to incorporate movements when expressing themselves or explaining concepts, utilizing movement as a means of processing information. It's common to observe them walking around or pacing while studying or contemplating, engaging in activities like fidgeting with objects or stress balls to aid in concentration.

2. Practical Approach:

Tactile learners favor hands-on experiential learning experiences, finding value in direct interaction with objects to grasp concepts effectively. They thrive in environments where they can touch, manipulate, face trial and error, and engage directly with materials related to the subject matter, enabling a more profound understanding through practical engagement.

3. Tactile Stimulation:

The sensory aspect is crucial for kinesthetic learners, as they learn best when they can physically sense and explore the texture, weight, and shape of objects. Such tactile stimulation plays a significant role in their comprehension and retention of information, allowing for a more immersive learning experience.

4. Muscle Memory:

One of the standout features of kinesthetic learners is their exceptional ability to memorize information and acquire skills through muscle memory. This innate talent for physical coordination makes them adept at activities such as sports, dance, or musical instruments, where muscle memory plays a significant role in skill development.

5. Challenges with Passive Learning:

A kinesthetic learner may encounter difficulties in traditional passive learning settings like lectures or solitary reading. Such a kinesthetic learner often struggles to maintain concentration and retain information in situations that lack physical engagement or a hands-on approach.

By recognizing and accommodating these characteristics, educators can create a supportive learning environment that caters to the specific needs and strengths of kinesthetic learners, fostering their academic success and engagement in the learning process.

Benefits of Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learning activities have a lot of advantages:

1. Cognitive development
Brain research has confirmed that hands-on activities and thinking are closely related, because during movement, the amount of oxygen supplied to the brain increases, and this stimulates thought processes.

2. Increased comprehension through physical activities
Regular lectures may not engage kinesthetic learners well, leading to mere basic understanding. To help these students learn better, using hands-on activities and interactive methods is important. By adding physical activities to lessons, teachers can help students retain information more effectively, making learning more fun. These approaches not only boost academic learning, but also help students develop social skills and work together in a friendly environment.

3. Development of social skills
If you are engaged in kinesthetic activities in a group, then through communication and interaction with other people, you will develop a positive social experience. Through trial and error, this will teach you how to study and work in a group.

4. Stronger creative thinking
Creativity is closely associated with kinesthetic learning, where engaging in diverse learning activities necessitates creative thinking to gain a deeper understanding. By adopting varied perspectives in a kinesthetic learning style, learners can nurture creativity and critical thinking skills, resulting in more robust creative thinking capabilities.

5. Better problem solving
Kinesthetic learning fosters critical and analytical thinking by encouraging experimentation with different techniques and strategies during study interactions. This active learning style prompts students to seek innovative problem-solving approaches, moving beyond passive observation or mere theoretical listening, thus enhancing problem-solving abilities.

6. Better observation
Having a hands-on approach to your studies enhances your ability to interact effectively with your environment and study materials, thereby sharpening your observational skills to detect changes and unique features more easily. Improving observation skills typically involves being focused, actively involved, and interactive with the information, all aspects that a kinesthetic learning style can support if it aligns with your learning style.

Teaching Methods for Kinesthetic Learners

There are several methods of kinesthetic learning, all of which are effective and widely used in teaching:

  1. Educational games. These can be simulations, or kinesthetic learners can create games on their own. All this develops the imagination and allows them to quickly assimilate the material.
  2. Role-playing games. During kinesthetic learning, organizing scenarios and role-playing games allows tactile learners to get used to different roles and situations, which contributes to a deeper understanding of the material. Role-playing games are well applicable to the study of history, for example. Tactile learners can take on the role of rulers or other significant personalities, and "play out" scenarios of important events. In this way, the chronology and nature of events are remembered down to the smallest detail, while also developing critical thinking skills.
  3. Physical engagement. As we wrote above, physical activity and brain performance are directly interrelated: the more a person moves, the more oxygen is supplied to the brain, and the higher the efficiency of brain activity. Kinesthetic strategies such as physical exercises and whole body movement can help you remember information that is difficult to come up with any associations for, for example, mathematical or physical formulas. Also, active movements are widely used when teaching children a foreign language. For example, it can be a song for memorizing parts of a person's body, and every time you pronounce a part of the body, you need to touch it. Physical exercises in general are quite often used in teaching younger children, such as preschool and elementary school age children.
  4. Experiments and demonstrations: Conducting practical experiments and demonstrations allows tactile learners to interact directly with the material, which contributes to better understanding and memorization. Examples of this method of kinetic learning can often be observed in chemistry or physics lessons, where practical work and experiments are an integral part of the educational process. How do I remember the reaction of two chemicals? Theory alone is often not enough, but after seeing this reaction in a real example, mixing two flasks with solutions, tactile learners will remember exactly how these substances react.
  5. Group projects. Interaction with other people, splitting into teams, even working in pairs allows kinesthetic learners to better assimilate the educational material. Tactile learners can ask each other questions, play team sports, and tell each other the material themselves (or try to explain the topic in their own words). In any case, group work should also be structured so as not to get distracted from the task at hand.

These methods of kinesthetic learning style contribute to a deeper and more effective assimilation of knowledge through active participation and physical activity in learning.


That’s all you need to know about kinesthetic learning and tactile learners. By understanding and accepting the strengths and characteristics of hands-on learners, you can create an educational environment that meets their needs and promotes growth.


What is an example of kinesthetic learning?

One of the most common examples of kinesthetic learning is the use of physical exercises while memorizing some material.

Do kinesthetic learners have ADHD?

Kinesthetic learners and individuals with ADHD are not the same. Kinesthetic learners typically prefer hands-on, deep learning experiences, and may struggle with traditional, passive learning methods. Meanwhile, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with attention, along with hyperactivity and impulsivity.

What are the 4 learning styles?

The four main learning styles are: visual learners (learn best through visuals like charts and videos), auditory learners (prefer learning through listening and discussions), reading/writing (excel with written materials like textbooks), kinesthetic (learn by doing through hands-on activities).

Why is kinesthetic learning effective?

Kinesthetic learning is effective because it engages learners through movement, improves retention by involving physical experiences and physical objects, enhances understanding through hands-on activities and personalized learning, promotes application of knowledge, and boosts motivation by actively involving learners in the learning process.