The Catholic University of America

Are you a Haptic Learner? Come to CAS to find out!

You are probably a Haptic Learner if you:

  • Learn better when you are able to DO: experience, experiment, and just move
Get active with things you want to remember


To get the most out of passive tasks:

  • Sit right up front in a classroom to stay connected and reduce opportunities to "zone out" - closeness to the professor might be very energizing. Sit away from distractions.

  • Take lots of notes in lecture to stay active - draw, diagram, or mark up your notes and leave extra space if some details were missed in a class, filling in afterward from another student, the professor or the textbook.

  • Consider the "mapping" or "webbing" system of taking notes rather than in modified outline form - it's more active and more creative to keep you engaged.

  • If you feel like you just have to move around in the middle of a class, have a repertoire of non-disturbing movements - jiggling your crossed leg, doodling on a separate pad, squeezing a tennis ball, isometric stretching - to drain off your pent-up energy, distraction, and, yes, boredom.

  • Start actively previewing a chapter before reading by first highlighting the title and headings, by numbering the headings and subheadings, by marking or captioning pictures, charts, maps and diagrams and even by taking end-of-chapter quizzes to get your momentum going.

  • Squeeze a tennis ball, spin a yoyo, chew gum, doodle, etc. while reading.


To maximize studying:

  • Before you begin a study assignment, write down a very specific goal to give yourself structure and focus - put a marker at the end of the pages, get out the materials you'll need to work with: "In the next hour I will underline and take notes from pages 55-65 and answer questions 1-10 on graph paper."

  • When you have to memorize something, pace or walk around while reciting to yourself, looking at a list or index cards. Or try closing your eyes and writing in the air with your finger - literally store the answers through your hand.

  • Use your creativity to invent an unobtrusive action or gesture to connect to things you need to remember - repeat the gesture in a test and gain access to the information.

  • Use color and visual highlighting to mark up textbooks, handouts, and lecture notes and write or diagram main points in the margin if there's room.

  • Instead of a desk, try studying lying on your stomach or back, standing up at an elbow-height surface.

  • Music or white noise in the background can help siphon off distractible energy.

  • You might need to change positions a lot and consider matching positions/locations with particular subjects or particular tasks (memorizing vs. reading vs. writing).

  • You'll probably need frequent breaks - make them active and vigorous to charge you up and drain off built-up energy.

  • While studying, squeeze a tennis ball, ride an exercise bike, jog with taped information, spin a yoyo, chew gum, doodle, etc..