Learning Styles: The Commonsense Learner

Who is the Commonsense Learner?

Most people use all the learning styles to some degree, but those whose favored style of learning falls within the hands-on, real-life learning preferences are called Commonsense Learners. While not necessarily in love with school, the Commonsense Learner is likely the most efficient of learners because he or she asks, “Why do I have to do this?”

The question is not one of obstinance, it is one of cognition. What they are really seeking to know is, “How do I attach this new learning to what I already know?” Because this is a primary way that learning is moved from working memory to long-term memory, all learners should be asking that question!

The Commonsense Learner is comfortable with active experimentation, particularly if it is hands-on. They rely heavily on tactile/kinesthetic involvement and using their body senses as a focus for understanding. Because they consistently seek usability, when they understand the need for what they are learning, it is quickly absorbed. These learners have many strengths, when taught in a way that meets their needs.

Supporting the Common Sense Learner

Weaknesses for this learner can follow their strengths. Because they are whole-to-part thinkers, they prefer the big picture over focusing on the parts that can lead to frustration like showing steps, editing work, elaborating thoughts, or working slowly. Frequent comments of Commonsense Learners might be, “Why do I have to elaborate; my sentence says what I want to say,” or “Why do I have to show the steps in math; I just knew the answer.”

Tools to Help the Commonsense Learner:

  • Share real-life reasons for what they are learning.
  • Allow them to give answers in bullets; sometimes giving them the answer in math and asking them to show the steps to get there.
  • Provide opportunities for visiting professionals so they can see how school skills translate into life.

God created these learners for a very special purpose. Value their ability to learn, even when it doesn’t show in grades. Appreciate this learner who seems to have an unexplained ability to draw accurate conclusions, see through to the heart of a problem, recognize how things work, repair items that don’t work, and program your remotes! They are one of a kind.