5 Study Tips for Tactile Learners

Learn about the tactile or kinesthetic learning style and how your study habits might change for the better.

March 17, 2014

Photo: Thinkstock

In addition to being relatively uncommon, the kinesthetic learning style is also one of the most useful ways to study. Since tactile learners remember information by experience, they are more likely to retain information. After all, you may forget something you read, but how often do you forget things that you do?

You might use the kinesthetic learning style if:

  • You like working with your hands.
  • You have an active lifestyle.
  • You tend to make unconscious movements during class, like tapping your foot or twirling a pen.
  • You’re adventurous and like to explore.
  • You prefer experiments and other hands-on learning activities to lectures and reading.

Study tips for tactile learners are practical in the most literal sense. Tactile learners do their best studying when movement is involved, so try to incorporate activity into your routine as much as possible.

If you’re not sure where to start, try a few of these study tips for tactile learners to see what’s best for you:


1. Learn by Teaching

Try teaching the material you’re learning to your friends or family. This is usually one of the most effective study tips for tactile learners; not only do you have to know the material well enough to teach it, but you can also engage with it more actively with it.

2. Get Comfortable

This could mean different things for different people. Some tactile learners like to study sitting in a comfy chair or lying down. For others, though, a standing desk may be more effective. Like most study tips for tactile learners, the trick is to experiment and find out what works.

3. Take Notes (Lots of Them)

Many tactile learners find that the act of writing helps them retain information. When you’re reading or in lecture, make sure you’re recording all of the key concepts, preferably by hand.

4. Give Yourself Active Breaks

This is particularly important during long classes or study sessions. Every hour (or however often you need), take a break to get up and stretch, take a walk, or do something else to get your circulation flowing. This is a great way for tactile learners to clear their thoughts and refocus.

5. Fidget

Find some non-distracting movement that you can make during lectures or other situations where you’re still for long periods. This could be tapping a pencil on your desk, shaking your foot, or even chewing gum. Tactile learners can benefit greatly from slight, repetitive movements like these. (Just make sure you’re not annoying the people sitting next to you!)

Sources: Cowley College, University of Utah School of Medicine

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