A small minority of students, about 5 percent, are
classified as tactile-kinesthetic. However, "[r]esearch has shown that
75% of students who drop out are tactile-kinesthetic learners". In
general, these learners prefer a hands-on approach. Some researchers use
the terms separately, tactile referring to fine-motor skills and
kinesthetic referring to gross-motor skills, but we will not use that
Because tactile-kinesthetics favor a 'hands-on' approach, they enjoy
physical activities and building things. These learners benefit from
situations that provide objects and variables that can be manipulated as
they can easily obtain data from their surroundings. They are the
people who typically skip reading the directions and just try and
figure out what to do as they go.
Tactile-kinesthetics often have short attention spans so it is helpful
to "avoid study marathons; instead, study for multiple short periods
with breaks in between". Also, frequently pacing around the room helps
them to learn because they need the movement. Tactile-kinesthetic
learners "need to be doing as they learn. They need physical interaction
and therefore benefit from lab activities, experiments, and role-playing.
Videos and multimedia would assist [them as well]".
These kinds of activities are far removed from what is typically done in
a classroom where students typically are in rows of desks seeing and
hearing the teacher, a strategy that works for 95% of students, but not
the 5% that are tactile-kinesthetics and it is often speculated, the most
disruptive in a classroom.