Diverse ways of learning

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The list below represents what a group of experienced UVic Teaching Assistants (TAs) have identified as the different ways in which they, and their students, learn. TAs may wish to use this list to assist in developing teaching strategies that are inclusive of all learners. Not all suggestions below may be applicable in all departments on campus. Please use the list as a guide only as this list is not exhaustive but encompasses a diverse array of considerations.

Learning is reinforced when taught in a multitude of ways.

This does not equate to learning styles. The fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience have determined that learning styles is a “neuromyth.” Rather, there is ample evidence that learning is increased when students engage with subject matter in multiple ways. In the following table, examples of what you can do to support student learning is provided. For foundational concepts, try to employ at least three different structures to enhance student learning.

Click on icons below to see examples of each structure of activity:

Problem/puzzle solving


Provide a problem for students to work through either individually or in groups.

Play or games


Gamify the lesson (e.g., create some gentle competition or include “levels” for learners to go through).

Practice and observation


Model the learning yourself and then create opportunities for students to practice it themselves.

Asking myself and others questions


Use active learning strategies that incorporate questions or individual self-reflection exercises.


A good question is Think-Pair-Share:

  • Think – give students one minute to think
  • Pair – pair students up to talk about what they were thinking regarding the question/topic
  • Share – bring the whole class together to share what was talked about in their pairs (or seek volunteers if it is a large class)

Explaining to others and verbal engagements


Create space in your class for students to peer-teach where they can better learn the material by teaching it to their peers

Doing and experiencing – trial and error


Create multiple opportunities for students to engage, practice, and try again as they continue to learn.

Making associations cognitively or fitting concepts together


Provide scaffolded opportunities for students to connect the dots or draw linkages between concepts across a course.



Include a variety of audio-based options in the class (e.g., podcast, group work, lecture).

Identifying specific parts of topics that individuals do not already know or are unfamiliar with


Consider providing pre-assessments for your students to gauge their prior knowledge and to create an inclusive space for all learners.

Seeing or engaging with examples


Provide exemplars of work, problem solutions, or other formats for whatever task, problem, or topic the students are engaging with.



Although topics may change, creating multiple opportunities for students to engage in important skills or learning (e.g., critical thinking, problem-solving).

Pattern and rhythm recognition and the use of colour coding (e.g., for memorization)


Share pneumonic devices or suggestions around colour-coding principles based on common aspects or themes.

Practical application of concepts and ideas addressed in class/ lesson/ labs


Drawing connections between what has been discussed in lecture and having a chance to apply that to a lab-experience or to engage in research practice as a learner.



Include a variety of reading materials in each class.

Kinetic learning or learning through physical activity


Ensure students are doing and actively engaging in their learning.

Constructive feedback


Providing constructive feedback to students on assessments, and in the classroom when in groups creating guidelines for students to engage respectfully in providing peer feedback.

Others’ previous experience(s)


In addition to sharing your own experiences, ask for volunteers from your class to share their experiences.

Visual learning experiences, imagery, and visual aids


Includes visual presentation, field trip, animation, video, photos. Include a variety in each class.

This guide was developed during the Teaching Assistant Consultants’ (TACs) seminars for the academic year 2009-2010 and updated in 2020-2021.

About this post

This post was last updated:

August 8, 2022

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