What Is Kinesthetic Learning: A Detailed Guide

Are you a teacher looking to get the best out of your students? Or are you seeking to improve your learning process as a student? It might interest you to know what kinesthetic learning is.

People are very different from one another and we have different abilities, skills and strengths, and weaknesses. Failure to realize the best means by which you learn may make learning difficult.

One type of learning is known as kinesthetic learning. It involves learning through physical activities like practicals and experiments rather than listening.

It is specifically beneficial for those learning technical subjects or courses. In the same vein, some individuals prefer this means of learning to any other.

If you want to know more about this learning type and how it works in individuals, this article is for you.

Definition Of Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learning can be defined as a learning style that requires your physical body to process new information. It means you have to make physical contact with the learning materials.

For example, you could identify a kinesthetic learner when he is pacing back and forth while trying to read a piece of information. Such learners tend to tap their pens on desks or move their feet subconsciously while learning.

Kinesthetic learning is more effective when visual images and materials are available. In other words, the use of practical and real-life situations, videos, simulations, presentations, field trips, outdoor events helps kinesthetic learning to go smoothly.

This means kinesthetic learners are partially visual and auditory learners because the whole body is involved in the learning process.

Kinesthetic learners are generally known to have the ability to respond swiftly and they retain better. They also have a certain love for physical routines and procedures and they thrive in sports and extracurricular activities.

Furthermore, this learning type is more favorable to those who love to do rather than listeners. Finally, this set of learners prefers to be in the science laboratory or art studio than to be in a lecture setting.

History Of The Kinesthetic Learning Concept

In his book titled “The Theory of Multiple Intelligences” in 1983, Howard Gardner described physical activities as part of kinesthetic learning.

Other early scholars had discovered the types of learning in the past but Neil Fleming, a New Zealand psychologist, created a model that is popularly known today as the VARK MODEL. This model stands for visual, aural, read/write, and kinesthetic.

He noted that kinesthetic learners share the same traits with tactile learners because of their love for hands-on projects and experiments.

Characteristics of Kinesthetic Learning

You might wonder how to discover if your students are kinesthetic learners. You may even assume that there is a possibility that you are one.

Here are the characteristics to identify a kinesthetic learner.

1. They make use of gestures

One of the best ways to identify a kinesthetic learner is the use of gestures while speaking. They rarely stay in a particular spot for a long time while speaking and they always make use of their hands to prove a point.

You can also find them using their hands to trace the words from the reading material as they try to read out loud. This makes them understand the information they are trying to learn.

2. They move around a lot

Kinesthetic learners enjoy the freedom of moving around. They do not perform better when they are restricted in the classroom setting. They learn with the whole of their senses and bodies. In addition, they enjoy physically demanding activities and practical sessions.

Moving around helps them to learn because it involves their bodies. They are often very active in science laboratories and art studios where they can easily express themselves. They love field trips since they are able to move around.

3. They have strong physical memory

People tend to remember physical activities and procedures better than just reading them. This means that they easily recall things that they have done. Video materials, class presentations as well as live case scenarios help them retain better.

You can also find kinesthetic learners in the workplace doing well during on-the-job training and internships.

4. They are easily distracted

Learners can easily lose their focus when a lecture is going on. This is because their brains are mostly conditioned to act physically to things around them. So when there is a physical distraction, they tend to lose their concentration.

This occurs a lot in class lectures where the teacher is the only one talking and the students are less busy. Hands-on class activities are one of the best ways to get the attention of kinesthetic learners.

5. They enjoy the use of tools

Because kinesthetic learners are more physical, they often learn better with the use of tools and learning instruments. Because they are into practical learning, they would require tools and instruments to practice better.

The use of tools and instruments are learning materials for kinesthetic learners is a good way to get them to participate during practical class activities, especially in subjects that are more practical based.

6. They are not good at languages

It is difficult to teach language to a kinesthetic learner because it is more oral than practical. Getting them to learn vocabulary rules can be extremely difficult as well because it is not practical enough for them to gain the necessary information.

7. They do not enjoy reading and spelling

Just like they do not enjoy languages, kinesthetic learners are not great readers as well. Their spelling skills are not good too. They prefer practical activities to function well in the classroom and on their own.

Reading can only be effective for them if they can involve their bodies in their reading activities.

8. They enjoy problem-solving.

If you want to get the attention of a kinesthetic learner during class activities, provide practical problems that involve their full physical bodies. They prefer problem-solving by actually doing it.

This is why many of them are good at puzzles and mazes. Such games keep their whole body occupied until they have solved the problem.

9. They love art and craft.

Art and craft is another activity that kinesthetic learners are very fond of. They enjoy using their hands to create and construct things. They also tend to learn practical things easily on their own with little or no supervision.

You can always get the best out of kinesthetic learners when you ask them to do practical activities themselves while you supervise.

10. They think better when moving around

When you see individual pacing around to make a point, that is a sign that the person is a kinesthetic learner. While others are comfortable sitting down while working, they prefer to move around and this helps them think better and more clearly.

Information obtained while moving around tends to stick better than when they stay in a particular place.

11. They like to experiment

Kinesthetic learners like to try out new experiments and new experiences. They are often open-minded to new ideas too. This is because they are curious to see the results of their actions when trying something new. This guides their information processing and helps them learn better.

12. They like to actively participate in class

Because the classroom setting is restricted when it comes to physical movements,

Kinesthetic learners try to concentrate better by actively participating in class activities. This could favor them when the class is very interactive. Questions and answer sessions, presentations, and debates can be a good way to identify these types of learners.

13. They are sports lovers

Kinesthetic learners are very good at sports and physical activities. This is because their entire body is active. They are also pretty focused when they engage in sports activities. The irony of this is that they do not enjoy watching sports as much as playing.

They are very difficult to keep on the sidelines because they feel the need to be active. They prefer not to be observers but to be doers.

How To Get The Best Out Of Kinesthetic Learners

Teachers can get the best out of kinesthetic learners in many ways. Some of those strategies include:

Organize educational games

Educational games are likely to attract the attention of kinesthetic learners in class. As they are focused on playing the games, they also get to learn new things easily. Encouraging students to participate is one of the best ways to get them to learn better.

Organize field trips

Field trips and excursions are great class activities that would be beneficial to kinesthetic learners because they are free to move around. Students are also encouraged to explore new things in real-life situations so they can process information easily.

Encourage movements

Teachers should ensure that students are allowed to take time to move around during break periods and lesson periods. Doing this will allow kinesthetic learners to be able to concentrate on their lessons better. Giving them physical tasks can always be a way to engage them.

Give out class projects

One of the best ways to get to kinesthetic learners is by allowing them to handle practical projects. These projects could be science or art-based depending on the strength of the students.

Projects tend to engage their physical and mental abilities which makes it easier for them to process information. The more projects they accomplish, the better they are at learning.

While it is important to give out group projects, kinesthetic learners can also be asked to carry out personal projects. Personal projects would give the students more freedom to explore and discover new things.

Organize class debates and discussions

Class debates and discussions are practical ways to engage kinesthetic learners. They are often the most active set of people in the practical class so there is no hiding place for them. This encourages them to bring out new ideas and thoughts and helps them to learn better.

Use real-life example

Making use of real-life examples and case studies can bring the imagination of kinesthetic learners to life. This is because they prefer practical illustrations to normal theoretical ones that are not useful to the real-world setting.

Use tools like videos and pictures, charts, and presentations to bring these examples to life when teaching learners.

Use practical questions during the examination

An examination cannot be a perfect test for knowledge if one learner has an unfair advantage over the other. Making use of applied and practical questions in the examination can allow kinesthetic learners to perform better than just basing the questions on theory.

Invite experts to speak to the students

Experts command a lot of attention to kinesthetic learners because they always make use of practical examples, unlike a traditional teacher with basic theoretical knowledge.

Inviting experts can allow students to benefit by gaining practical information that would be useful to them.


What are examples of kinesthetic learning?

Examples of kinesthetic learning include physical activities like riding a bicycle, driving a car, and creating a painting. While they perform these activities, learning occurs.

How do kinesthetic learners learn?

Kinesthetic learning involves the physical body, unlike the rest of the learning types. Learners under this category gain information by feeling and experiencing it. They mainly use touch and movement.

Is kinesthetic learning similar to visual learning?

No. Visual learners make use of their eyes to process information while kinesthetic learners utilize their physical bodies to learn. Sometimes, they use the same learning tools.

Is kinesthetic the best type of learning?

No. Kinesthetic is not the best type of learning. Each learner has a learning style that is peculiar to them.


We have seen that there are different types of learning but we were more focused on kinesthetic learning and how it stands out from the rest.

The history, definition, and characteristics of this type of learning show that it is one of the best styles if you are the type to explore new things, or you love sports because the total body is involved in the learning process.

Teachers are encouraged to balance their teaching methods and include all learners in their classrooms. There are lots of charts and tools that can be used to engage learners of all types, especially kinesthetic learners.

Furthermore, you should check the article on the qualities of a good teacher to learn more ways to advance your career and bring the best out of your students.

I hope the article helped you. Thank you for reading.