The core aspects of learning

image-1We experience the world through stimuli acting on all our senses. Why then should learning be limited to sight and sound? Traditional methods of teaching gave prominence to learning through seeing and listening to the subject matter. Though these senses are crucial to learning, they do not cover all aspects of information processing done by the brain.

Learning begins with perception. Perception can be defined as the organization, identification and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. Earlier on, perception was viewed as a modular function, where data collected by the different senses were considered separate and independent of each other. Later studies turned around this dogma. Inputs from multiple senses have been observed to interact with one another to create a deeper and richer understanding. The brain has also been shown to display ‘plasticity’ in which the actual brain wiring can change on account of habits and physical factors. This implies the possibility of overcoming learning challenges through specific training.

The brain combines different inputs of the sensory system to create an enhanced detection image-3or identification of stimulus. Multi-sensory learning is nothing but utilizing all of one’s senses for learning. Along these lines, learning is broadly categorized into: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Auditory Learning: achieved through verbal inputs, i.e. listening and repeating, addressing an audience etc.image-2

Visual Learning: achieved through seeing, i.e. through images, charts, written information etc.

Kinesthetic Learning: achieved through hands-on activity, i.e. field trips, using props, role-play etc.

The extent of data imbibed via different senses varies from learner to learner. However, it can be said to be true in general, that we all learn best when auditory, visual and kinesthetic modules are combined. It stands to reason that when a subject is observed through its various qualities, it is understood more completely.