Part One - Learning Preferences
Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic (Motor)

A summary of these learning preferences with some implications for teaching and learning is provided below. This appendix also contains samples of three different questionnaires that can be used to help students determine their learning preference.


The visual learner needs to see, observe, record and write.


The auditory learner needs to talk and to listen.


The tactile-kinaesthetic learner needs to do, touch, be physically involved.

See information:
  • Diagram
  • Chart
  • List
Listen and respond to information. Needs structured, hands-on activity, such as building a replica of the Houses of Parliament, or using a salting process to feel the corrosion of metals.
See meaning:
  • Through imagined visualization
  • Interpretive illustration

Dialogue and discuss.

Needs to be involved with "doing" activities, such as acting out an event.

See content:
  • Reading
  • Through written description

Hear lecture and debate.

Needs to touch what is being considered, such as holding and examining a model, visiting a factory, or making a product.
See possibilities:
  • Through written brainstorming, such as webbing, mindmapping.

Talk out ideas, interests, problems, possibilities.

Needs to immerse in the trial and error of experimentation, such as designing and making a new product.

Questionnaire 1

Developed by Ray Barsch

The series of questions on the next three pages is designed to determine your relative learning style (visual, auditory, or tactile). No style of learning is better than another. However, each style makes its own demands on the environment of the learner. What does a tutor perceive to be the learning style of his student? How can he help that student learn, given that particular style?

Place a check on the appropriate line after each statement. Then score, following the directions after the questionnaire.

Often Sometimes Seldom
1 Can remember more about a subject through listening than reading. ____ ____ ____
2 Follow written directions better than oral directions. ____ ____ ____
3 Like to write things down or take notes for visual review. ____ ____ ____
4 Bear down extremely hard with pen or pencil when writing. ____ ____ ____
5 Require explanations of diagrams, graphs, or visual directions. ____ ____ ____
6 Enjoy working with tools. ____ ____ ____
7 Am skilful and enjoy developing and making graphs and charts. ____ ____ ____
8 Can tell if sounds match when presented with pairs of sounds. ____ ____ ____
9 Remember best by writing things down several times. ____ ____ ____
10 Can understand and follow directions using maps. ____ ____ ____
11 Do better at academic subjects by listening to lectures and tapes. ____ ____ ____
12 Play with coins and keys in pockets. ____ ____ ____
13 Learn to spell better by repeating the letters out loud than by writing the word on paper. ____ ____ ____
14 Can better understand a news article by reading about it in the paper than by listening to the radio. ____ ____ ____
15 Chew gum, smoke, or snack during studies. ____ ____ ____
16 Feel the best way to remember is to picture it in my head. ____ ____ ____
17 Learn spelling by "finger spelling" the words. ____ ____ ____
18 Would rather listen to a good lecture or speech than read about the same material in a textbook. ____ ____ ____
19 Am good at working and solving jigsaw puzzles and mazes. ____ ____ ____
20 Grip objects in my hands during learning period. ____ ____ ____
21 Prefer listening to the news on the radio rather than reading about it in a newspaper. ____ ____ ____
22 Obtain information on an interesting subject by reading relevant materials. ____ ____ ____
23 Feel very comfortable touching others, hugging, handshaking, etc. ____ ____ ____
24 Follow oral directions better than written ones. ____ ____ ____

Scoring procedures:

Place the point value on the line next to its corresponding item number. Next, sum the values to arrive at your preference scores under each heading.


No. Pts. No. Pts. No. Pts.
2 _____ 1 _____ 4 _____
3 _____ 5 _____ 6 _____
7 _____ 8 _____ 9 _____
10 _____ 11 _____ 12 _____
14 _____ 13 _____ 15 _____
16 _____ 18 _____ 17 _____
19 _____ 21 _____ 20 _____
22 _____ 24 _____ 23 _____
__________ __________ __________

VPS = Visual Preference Score
APS = Auditory Preference Score
TPS = Tactile Preference Score

Questionnaire 2

(Visual, Auditory or Motor)

The questionnaire can be done in a small group or individually with the instructor reading the questions and the student selecting the answer that best suits him or her.

The instructor should discuss the results with the student using the following questions:

  1. Under which column did you check the most answers?
  2. What kind of learning preference does it appear you have?
  3. What learning or teaching methods do you think would best suit your preference?
  4. What learning or teaching methods might not suit your preference as well?

(Instructors may need to offer suggestions like lectures, films, reading aloud, etc. for questions 3 and 4.)

Given below are a number of incomplete sentences and three ways of completing each sentence. In each case, select the way which most frequently represents your personal preference. In each case, make only ONE choice.

1 When you keep up with current events do you: read the newspaper thoroughly? listen to the radio and/or watch TV news? Quickly read the paper and/or spend a few minutes watching TV news?
2 When you dress, are you: a neat dresser? a sensible dresser? a comfortable dresser?
3 When you are reading novels, do you: like descriptive scenes; stop to imagine the scene; take little notice of pictures? enjoy dialogue and conversation; "hear" the characters talk? prefer action stories and are not a keen novel reader?
4 When you spell, do you: try to see the word? use the phonetic approach? write the word down to find if it "feels" right?
5 When you are angry, do you: clam up, seethe, give others the "silent" treatment? let others know quickly and express it in an outburst? storm off, clench your fists, grit your teeth or grasp something tightly?
6 When you are free and have spare time, would you rather: watch TV, go to the cinema or theatre, read? listen to records or the radio, go to a concert or play an instrument? do something physical (sport, DIY)?
7 When you forget something, do you: forget names but remember faces? forget faces but remember names? remember best what you did?
8 When you have to conduct business with another person, do you: prefer face-to-face meeting or writing letters? use the telephone? talk it out during another activity (walking or having a meal)?
9 When you enjoy the arts, do you: like paintings? like music? like dancing?
10 When you are talking, do you: talk sparingly, but dislike listening for too long? enjoy listening but are impatient to talk? gesture a lot and use expressive movements?
11 When you are at a meeting, do you: come prepared with notes? enjoy discussing issues and hearing other points of view? want to be somewhere else and spend the time doodling?
12 When you are with others, might they interpret your emotions from your: facial expressions? voice quality? general body tone?
13 When you visualize, do you: see vivid detailed pictures? think in sounds? have few images that involve movement?
14 When you are concentrating, are you: distracted by untidiness or movement? distracted by sounds or noises? distracted by movement?
15 When you are praised, do you: like written comments? like oral comments? like a physical action such as a pat on the back or a hug?
16 When you need to discipline a child, do you think the best approach is to: temporarily isolate the child from the others? reason with the child and discuss the situation? use "acceptable" forms of corporal punishment (a smack)?
17 When you try to interpret someone's mood, do you: primarily look at their facial expression? listen to their tone of voice? watch their body movements?
18 When you are inactive, do you: look around, doodle, watch something? talk to yourself or other people? fidget?
19 When you are learning, do you: like to see demonstrations, diagrams, slides, posters? like verbal instructions, talks and lectures? prefer direct involvement (activities, role-playing)?
20 When you go on a new, long journey, do you: get the route from a book (AA/RAC guide)? talk to someone to get the information? get out maps, etc. and make a plan?

_____________ _____________ _____________

Questionnaire 3


Place the number 1, 2, or 3 on the line after each statement that best indicates your preference. (Please use: 3 - Often; 2 - Sometimes; 1 - Seldom)

1 I can remember something best if I say it aloud. _____
2 I prefer to follow written instructions rather than oral ones. _____
3 When studying, I like to chew gum, snack and/or play with something. _____
4 I remember things best when I see them written out. _____
5 I prefer to learn through simulations, games, and/or role playing. _____
6 I enjoy learning by having someone explain things to me. _____
7 I learn best from pictures, diagrams and charts _____
8 I enjoy working with my hands. _____
9 I enjoy reading, and I read quickly. _____
10 I prefer to listen to the news on the radio rather than read it in the newspaper. _____
11 I enjoy being near others. (I enjoy hugs, handshakes and touches.) _____
12 I listen to the radio, tapes and recordings. _____
13 When asked to spell a word, I simply see the word in my mind's eye. _____
14 When learning new material, I find myself sketching, drawing and doodling. _____
15 When I read silently, I say every word to myself. _____

In order to get an indication of your learning, preference, please add the numbers together for the following statements.

Visual Preference Score: 2 ___, 4 ___, 7 ___, 9 ___, 13 ___ = _______
Auditory Preference Score: 2 ___, 4 ___, 7 ___, 9 ___, 13 ___ = _______
K/T (Kinaesthetic/Tactual) Score: 2 ___, 4 ___, 7 ___, 9 ___, 13 ___ = ______

The highest score indicates that my learning preference is ____________________.

Now that I know which is my dominant learning style, I can learn better by:

This inventory was developed by Max Coderre, publisher of Teaching Today Magazine in Edmonton, Alberta, and is designed to help you better understand your own unique learning styles.

Part Two - Learning Styles

It is important to recognize that different researchers have different ways of defining learning styles and thus often use different terms to refer to the Ways people prefer to perceive and process information.

This appendix presents three different descriptions of learning styles. The first one has a specific questionnaire that will assist the instructor in matching a learner's style with one of the described styles.

The second description provides general information about four learning styles. A specific questionnaire has not been developed to match these styles.

The third description relates more specifically to Aboriginal learning styles.

General questionnaires have been provided to help the instructor match learners with a learning style.

The Gregorc definitions of learning styles have not been included because instructors may have difficulty obtaining his questionnaires.

Learning Styles - Summary I

Physically Centred Learner

  1. Learns by watching, learns by doing.
  2. The learner does not need a lot of verbal instruction.
  3. Needs enough time to practice and complete the activity.
  4. The content of the activity must be practical and useful to the learner's life.
  5. Learns well in cooperation with others.

Emotional/Relational Learner

  1. Learns by listening to others.
  2. Learns by talking about the activity with other learners.
  3. Learns by relating the activity to his/her personal life.
  4. Learns in a relaxed atmosphere.
  5. Can divide attention amongst many different activities when learning something new.
  6. Learns in a creative atmosphere.
  7. Often does not know what he/she knows until he/she says it out loud to others.

Mentally Centred Learner

  1. Focuses on the idea or theory of the activity.
  2. Learns what he/she values.
  3. Learns independently.
  4. Enjoys talking about ideas with others.
  5. Concentrates deeply on one thing and cannot divide attention to listen or watch other things at the same time.

Learning Styles Assessment Questionnaire

The following pages provide an assessment tool for you to better understand your learning styles. If you understand your learning style, it will better help you understand your teaching style.

Go through the questions, marking the answers that best reflect your learning. When you have completed your assessment, go back over the questions and answers to see if you can find a pattern or dominant learning style. Look at the answer key only after you have attempted to determine your learning style on your own.

1 . How do you usually learn best?

  • _____ from working on my own and taking my own time.
  • _____ from an instructor's lecture.
  • _____ from an instructor who works personally with me.
  • _____ from working in a small group of people I feel comfortable with.
  • _____ from seeing practical application.
  • _____ from following written directions.
  • _____ from a small group of people with an instructor available to answer questions.

2. What most helps your learning? (Check as many as you want; rank in order of importance.)

  • _____ having my own routine.
  • _____ talking with others while learning.
  • _____ being able to take my time.
  • _____ having fun while learning.
  • _____ being able to practice what I am learning.
  • _____ getting support and encouragement from instructors/people at home.

3. Think of three things you have enjoyed learning: they can be anything and don't have to be related to school. What are they and why did you enjoy them? How did you learn them?

4. What occurs to you first when you are learning something?

  • _____ remembering something you did once that was similar.
  • _____ thinking up a picture of how something ought to be.
  • _____ getting as much information as you can about the topic.

5. What is the easiest part or stage of learning for you?

  • _____ beginning something.
  • _____ working on the details and practicing.
  • _____ completing something.

6. What is the most difficult part of learning for you?

  • _____ beginning something.
  • _____ working on the details and practicing.
  • _____ completing something.

7. In putting something together, I:

  • _____ read instructions first, then look at the pieces.
  • _____ look at the pieces, then read the instructions.
  • _____ look at the instructions but make up my own way of putting the pieces together.
  • _____ try to put pieces together first, then if it doesn't work, look at the instructions.

8. In what order do the following skills come in your learning process? (Rank 1-2-3)

  • _____ thinking
  • _____ assessing
  • _____ doing

9. How do you best learn mechanical or technical things?

  • _____ tinkering
  • _____ having someone explain it to me
  • _____ reading instructions
  • _____ watching someone work, then doing it myself

10. When is it important to you to be able to talk about what you are doing?

11. How do you best learn ideas and theories?

  • _____ talking about them
  • _____ working on applying them
  • _____ reading about them

12. How do you know when you have really learned something? (Check one)

  • _____ I feel comfortable doing it again.
  • _____ I show or tell my family and friends what I can do.
  • _____ other: __________________________________

Evaluation Key

P = physically centred (concrete)
M = mentally centred (abstract)
E/R = emotional/relational

1 P; M; E/R; E/R; P; P; M; E/R; P
2 E/R; M; E/R; P; E/R; P; E/R
3 N.A.
4 E/R; P; M
5 E/R; P; M
6 P; M; E/R
7 M; P; E/R; P; M; P
8 M; E/R; P
9 E/R; M; P
10 N.A.
11 E/R; P; M
12 P; E/R; M

Source: Adapted from Working with Female Relational Learners in Technology and Trades Training, Carol Brooks Ph.D., 1986.

Learning Styles - Summary II

Four Major Learning Styles:

ONE: Imaginative Learner

  • perceives information concretely.
  • processes information by thinking about it.
  • likes to listen and share information to learn.
  • believes in his/her own experiences and integrates experience.
  • with their selves.
  • needs to be personally involved.
  • sees all sides.
  • has trouble making decisions.
  • struggles to connect content with reality.
  • seeks harmony.

TWO: Analytic Learner

  • perceives information abstractly.
  • processes information by thinking about it.
  • needs to know what experts think.
  • values sequential thinking.
  • needs details.
  • is thorough and industrious.
  • loves ideas, enjoys ideas more than people.
  • is highly skilled verbally.
  • loves traditional classrooms.
  • integrates their observations into what they already know.

THREE: Common Sense Learner

  • perceives information abstractly.
  • processes by doing.
  • is a problem solver
  • is skills oriented.
  • likes to experiment and tinker with things.
  • needs to know how things work.
  • wants to work on real problems.
  • wants to apply learning to real purposes.

FOUR: Dynamic Learner

  • perceives information concretely.
  • processes information by doing.
  • learns by trial and error.
  • likes change.
  • excels where flexibility is needed.
  • is a risk-taker.
  • is not sequential.
  • pursues interests in diverse ways.

Adapted from the work of David Colb.

Aboriginal Learning Styles - Summary III


  • tends to understand best when overall concept is presented first.
  • learns best when overview or introduction is emphasized.
  • needs meaningful context.
  • sees relationships easily.
  • benefits from whole language approach.


  • learns best from images, both concrete and abstract (symbols, diagrams, simile, metaphor).
  • codes information using images.
  • has difficulty verbalizing own images but can make them and use them for learning.


  • learns best with support from materials that can be seen, touched, heard (photographs).
  • "hands-on" approach is effective.
  • needs examples.

Watch - Then Do: (also Think - Then Do or Listen - Then Do)

  • reflective.
  • needs time to think answer through.

Taken from the work of Arthur J. More, University of British Columbia.

A Closed-Ended Questionnaire

When a group tutor introduces a new word or idea, do you like to:

  • _____ hear it many times
  • _____ see it written down
  • _____ use the word or idea
  • _____ do something with it

How do you like your mistakes to be corrected?

  • _____ figure it out myself
  • _____ have the group tutor correct all my mistakes
  • _____ have the group tutor correct only my big mistakes
  • _____ have other group members correct me

What activities do you like to do most in class?

  • _____ songs
  • _____ playing games
  • _____ doing exercises from workbooks
  • _____ discussions, debates, presentations
  • _____ writing: stories, sentences, poems
  • _____ reading: stories, newspaper articles
  • _____ listening to cassettes
  • _____ watching videos

How do you like to work?

  • _____ alone
  • _____ alone with my tutor
  • _____ with one other person
  • _____ in a small group
  • _____ with the whole group

How much does it bother you to make mistakes when you're learning?

  • _____ a lot
  • _____ some
  • _____ a bit
  • _____ not at all

How do you like to learn something new?

  • _____ memorizing
  • _____ repeating out loud
  • _____ practicing over and over
  • _____ learn by rules
  • _____ watch others doing it
  • _____ ask or get help from someone
  • _____ use the skill outside the class

Open-Ended Interview

  • Think of a recent learning experience that was good. What made it a good experience?

  • Think of a recent learning experience that was bad. What made it a bad experience?

  • How do you learn best?

  • What makes it difficult to learn something new?

  • What kinds of activities do you like to do most? Give examples.
  • What kinds of activities don't you like to do?

  • How is the way you learn different from others?

How can you identify the learning style of others?

  • Talk with the individual learner. Ask the person his or her ways of doing things and preferences.

  • Observe what methods and approaches motivates the individual learner.
  • Use learning styles inventories.

  • Observe body language, (ie. use of gestures often indicates a tactile, experiential learner).

  • Listen to the words the individual uses, (ie. "I think/feel/believe.").

General questionnaires taken from Learning Together by Barbara Fretz and Marianne Paul.

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