Am I a Kinesthetic (Hands-On) Learner?

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Jul 17, 2018 ·

Do you regularly crack your knuckles? Can you have a detailed conversation while performing a physical task like playing catch? Do your feet or hands tap a constant rhythm when you’re focused? Do you think most clearly when you’re exercising?

If any of these describe you, there’s a good chance that you’re a kinesthetic learner.

What is a Kinesthetic Learner?

Being a kinesthetic learner means you learn best by doing. You’re hands-on, and you don’t mind getting dirty.

You probably get fidgety sitting in class lectures. The things your teachers say and show you probably don’t sink in at first, but you’re intently focused when they assign you something to draw, build or create.

Does This Sound Like You?

Kinesthetic learners are often successful in classes where they can explore the subjects with their physical senses, such as:

  • Shop: wood, auto, metal
  • Art: painting, music and sculpting
  • Science: physics and chemistry

This doesn’t mean kinesthetic learners are limited in what they can learn, only that some subjects may come more naturally.

Student is a kinesthetic learner hands-on


What Goes on in a Kinesthetic Learner’s Brain?

Kinesthetic learners have a highly developed tactile system. That means they have a strong connection between their brain and the sensory information they receive from their tendons and muscles.

Their brains absorb information from the things they touch and the movements they make in a heightened way. It’s why hands-on projects are so effective for this type of learning style.

Kinesthetic learners might be described as having great muscle memory, which is a type of long-term memory that is developed through repetitive physical activity. Muscle memory often applies to sports, but may also be developed through doing such things as building, crafts, or writing.

The Challenges and Advantages of Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learners thrive in the right learning environment. They typically excel in art, science and shop classes where the concepts are learned hands-on.

In the wrong learning environment, kinesthetic learners may be misunderstood as not being good students. But just because someone learns best through physical activity doesn’t mean he or she can’t develop other skills for learning as well.

         What Hands-On Learners Do Well:

  • Quick to learn concepts that involve touch or movement
  • Gifted at using tools; ranging from wrenches to paint brushes to lab equipment
  • Highly curious and eager to explore their environment

What Hands-On Learners May Struggle With:

  • Slower to grasp concepts when they’re explained visually or audibly
  • Find it difficult to listen and comprehend without interaction
  • Restlessness

Welder putting two pieces of metal together

The Best Careers for Kinesthetic Learners

Identifying whether or not you’re a kinesthetic learner can help you throughout your life. When deciding on a field of study or a career, you can quickly identify paths where your style of learning may be an advantage and the awareness where you may have some challenges.

Careers in the skilled trades are often ideal for kinesthetic learners. They tend to be hands-on, appeal to the naturally curious, and keep the brain and the body active.

Good career paths for kinesthetic learners can include:

Sound like you? If you best when you’re hands-on, you may want to check out Universal Technical Institute’s programs.
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