The Importance of Kinesthetic Learning Blog Feature

By: Geena Maharaj on May 13th, 2015

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The Importance of Kinesthetic Learning

Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Student Engagement | Academic Subject: Interdisciplinary | Featured Topics: Professional Development

Imagine if educators were required by law to hand out straitjackets to students before school started. There's no filibuster long enough that could save any lawmaker from the angry mob of parents and teachers that would follow.

But where's the public outcry when that immobilizing jacket is invisible? Students' ears are constantly being fed with information, and their eyes are getting their fill, too. But without the use of kinesthetic tactics in teaching, retention rates among students plummet.

The biggest support for this claim comes from the shape known to many in the education world as the Learning Pyramid. The exact percentages may vary by 5%, but the ascending order has yet to change. Learning by carrying out an activity, known as kinesthetic learning, has always accounted for the largest slice of the pyramid, sitting at the base, while learning by hearing and seeing take up a small space at the top. According to the below visual, students remember 5% of what they're taught in a lecture, and 10% of what they read. When teaching incorporates both auditory and visual methods, students remember an average of 20% of what they're taught.


However, once students must learn by doing, the retention rate jumps to 75% and above.

So why are tactile learning methods far less frequently used compared to auditory and visual methods in elementary and secondary classrooms? One reason could be the ease in implementing the more ubiquitous two learning approaches. Information presented through auditory and visual avenues can be transmitted more quickly than through movement, and time is invaluable in the classroom. Further, many educators are unsure of what kinesthetic learning truly is and how to successfully tap into it.

But when 37% of young students learn best by doing as opposed to 34% and 29% by hearing and seeing, respectively, the importance of kinesthetic learning is undeniable.

Thankfully, the public has caught on to this learning by doing revolution, doing away with the invisible straitjackets. The maker movement has brought about maker spaces, a soon-to-be-staple in every school that embodies many of the goals of this coveted learning type. VariQuest's white paper details what the movement is and how it relates to education. Click below to download the white paper and learn more.

Understanding the Maker Movement

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