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Visual and Auditory Learning Modes: Which is Better and for Whom?

based on 9 ratings
Author: Shelly Smith

Grade Level: 9th to 12th; Type: Social Science

Objective:

This experiment explores which of the two learning modes most commonly used in school settings, visual and auditory, as well as a combination of the two, is most effective for information retention.

Research Questions:

  • Do some people have much better retention when information is presented visually rather than verbally or vice versa?
  • Does presenting information both visually and verbally increase retention above either mode alone?

There are many different modes of learning: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc. People are almost always using more than one mode, however most people learn best by one mode or another. This experiment explores which of the two learning modes most commonly used in school settings, visual and auditory, as well as a combination of the two, is most effective for information retention.

Materials:

  • Computer and printer
  • Printer paper
  • Paper and pencil for recording and analyzing results
  • 20 or more test subjects

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Create the tests. They should consist of three different lists of words of equal complexity.
  2. Print out two copies of each list.
  3. For the visual test, give the test subject the printed list of words, tell him to read through it once, then take the list away and ask him to recite as many of the words as he can remember.
  4. For the auditory test, read the list of words out-loud to the subject and then ask him to recite as many of the words as he can remember.
  5. For the combination test, give the subject the printed list of words and have him look at it while you read the words to him out-loud, then take the list away and ask him to recite as many of the words as he can remember.
  6. Administer all three tests to each test subject. Change the order in which you administer the tests and which list of words you use for each test to avoid test, test-practice, or test-fatigue bias.
  7. Record the scores for all three tests for each subject.
  8. Average the scores for each type of test.
  9. Analyze the results. Did one type of test yield significantly higher scores than the others?
  10. Now compare test results for individuals. Were there individuals who had significant differences in their test scores? That is, did some people do significantly better on one type of test than on another? Do patterns emerge along gender lines?
  11. What ramifications might this information have for teachers?

Terms/Concepts: modes of learning, visual learning, auditory learning, kinesthetic learning

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