Multi-Sensory Teaching: Reaching Every Learner

I am so pleased to once again welcome Dr. Erica Warren to Minds in Bloom. Just like her post on reading disabilities, this post is packed with useful information to help you reach every learner in your class.

Many teachers learn about four types of learners in their pre-service teaching classes. However, our guest blogger shares in this post that there are actually 12 types of multi-sensory learners. Use this post on multi-sensory teaching to help you better reach all learners!


Many teachers recognize the four learning modalities: visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic.  But are you aware of the other eight ways of processing information, too?  Demonstrating and accommodating all 12 ways of assimilating knowledge is essential these days, and multi-sensory instruction, as well as multi-sensory assignment options, can help you to reach all types of learners. What’s more is that you will be preparing your students to be flexible, lifelong learners.


A Review of the First Four Ways of Learning:

  • Visual learners encode and recall information that is seen.
    • Present images that reflect the academic content.
    • Encourage these learners to view pictures, diagrams, and webs on the internet that previews or summarizes lessons.
  • Auditory learners encode and recall information that is heard.
    • Make sure that all your auditory learners can hear you clearly.
    • Allow auditory learners the option to just listen.  Don’t require them to take notes, but provide them a copy of your own notes or a peer’s notes.
  • Tactile learners encode and recall material that they can touch.
    • Use manipulatives that the students can feel.
    • Suggest note taking, as some tactile learners encode best when they write down what they hear.
  • Kinesthetic learners encode and recall best when they are moving their bodies.
    • Provide your learners with short kinesthetic “brain breaks” during a long lesson.
    • Integrate activities that allow your students to move around the class.

What Are the Other Eight Ways of Learning, and How Can I Accommodate Them?

  • Sequential learners encode and recall sequenced or ordered information.
    • Use timelines.
    • Present sequenced instructions.
    • Offer outlines.
  • Simultaneous learners encode and recall information that is categorized, shows the “big picture,” and clearly defines main ideas and details.
    • Summarize important information.
    • Define and discuss main ideas and details.
    • Utilize flow charts and diagrams.
  • Verbal learners encode and recall by processing ideas and thoughts aloud.
    • Present opportunities for students to process ideas verbally through discussions.
    • Encourage verbal learners to repeat back instructions and to verbally plan and record assignments.
  • Interactive learners encode and recall best with the company of others.
    • Allow these learners to collaborate on projects or classroom activities.
    • Help these students to arrange study groups.
  • Reflective/logical learners encode and recall information by thinking about or processing information internally and making connections to prior experiences.
    • Offer the option for students to work independently and to process ideas internally.
    • Encourage free writing activities and journals that share internal thoughts.
  • Indirect experience learners encode and recall instruction that is demonstrated.
    • Offer vicarious learning experiences or demonstrations.
    • Provide real-life anecdotes of academic content.
  • Direct experience learners encode and recall real-life experiences.
    • Make connections between what students are learning in the classroom and the “real world.”
    • Inform learners about activities available in their local communities and cities (historic sites, museums, aquariums…).
    • Take your class on field trips.
  • Rhythmic melodic learners encode and recall information with the use of songs and rhythm.
    • Offer music that suggests a time period or mood.
    • Associate melodies with information to be learned.
    • Listen to and sing songs that incorporate educational material.
If you would like to view a free Prezi on this topic, CLICK HERE.


By offering multi-sensory instruction and assignment options, you will accommodate more learners, and your lessons will be more engaging.  If you would like to learn more on how to assess your students’ best ways of learning, CLICK HERE.  If you have any thoughts or questions, I would love to hear from you.

Dr. Erica Warren is a learning specialist, an educational therapist, and an author of multi-sensory and mindful educational materials. She resides in New York, where she works one-on-one with students as a “personal trainer for the brain” and as an educational consultant/teacher trainer. Dr. Warren offers her materials at Good Sensory LearningDyslexia Materials, and Teachers PayTeachers. You can read her blog here.
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