SENSORY PREFERENCES FOR LEARNING

"Sensory Preference" refers to the preference an individual possesses in relation to information acquisition through sensory stimuli (ie. visual, auditory, kinesthetic). This includes the type of sensory data that registers most quickly through seeing, hearing or touching. Sensory preference impacts the way an individual acquires information, the comfort level in learning a subject, and the manner in which an individual stores information or develops memory systems.

By the age of 5 or 6 the brain begins to identify with one sensory system over the other two, although what triggers the selection isn’t well understood. Generally, one type of sensory stimuli will register most quickly in the brain than another. Hence, it is important to use multiple modal stimuli for sensory processing that triggers all biochemical pathways for learning.

Lectures, audio visuals/LCD, hands on practical work/experimentation, group activities, worksheets, games and outings should be used in balance by teachers. Estimates of sensory preference were found through a general survey in school children shown below and majority of children preferred visual learning.

Moreover, Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has been critical in reviewing the methods for learning, teaching and assessment in educational institutions across the world.

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