Children are not the sole beneficiaries of multisensory learning. Even grown-ups are always on the path of learning. Learning deficiencies force many individuals to drop out of schools and colleges. This abandonment may reflect limited reading and writing skills. A few medical conditions or neuromotor disorders may disrupt other aspects of an adult’s normal life as well. It is for this reason that education researchers and rehabilitators advocate the use of multisensory learning activities for adults. These activities help people equip themselves with necessary skills that promote self-dependence. What these activities are, why those are needed, and what outcomes to expect, let’s try to explore them in this post.
Why multi-sensory learning activities for adults?
Multi-sensory learning engages all in-born senses of an individual. We know about vision, audio, smell, touch, taste; there are two more senses called vestibular and proprioception. In dyslexic or dyscalculic individuals, learning by reading or writing using the sense of vision alone is compromised. They can now be taught by exploiting other pronounced senses through multisensory learning activities. Some of the reasons, apart from SLDs, that make the right cases for multisensory learning are:
- Cognitive decline caused due to injury or ageing: It may require doing activities that promote agility of mind and improve its reasoning ability.
- Need of re-learning lost skills: Any traumatic condition that hits some of the sensory abilities may require a person to relearn things from the scratch
- Unfamiliarity with language: While preparing for life as an expat in a foreign land, a person may need to develop reading and writing skills. Learning English as a Second Language can be made more fun yet effective with multisensory learning methods.
Multisensory learning has gotten the nod of all researchers due to its effectiveness in building requisite skills in adults. Let’s explore the type of activities that fit adults’ learning requirements.
Easy multisensory activities for adults
1. Cooking a dish
Cooking is an activity that charges up our multiple senses. Kneading dough, tasting whether salty or sugary, or hot or cold, or weighing ingredients to achieve a great recipe contribute to working of all senses. So, make teams to make Christmas cookies or vegetable stew.
This helps teach adults concepts of texture, taste, color, granularity, etc. By following a procedure, the ideas of linearity of thoughts or sequencing skills can also be built.
Cooking activity is not intervened daily. You fix a weekday or two for preparing dishes of various kinds. Thus, the adults develop a sense of time by trying to keep a record of the cooking routine.
Painting requires activities like dabbing, stroking, smearing, etc. Hence, the grip and control of hands are some of the virtues adults can develop from the ‘paint a wall’ activity. Also, the painter needs to deal with colors and learn interesting combinations. While choosing a wall to paint, brainstorming for ideas helps adults develop critical thinking.
Painting can be made a time-pressed activity by giving a time limit to finish the project. Thus, adults can attain mental reasoning agility by trying to meet the deadline. Dividing chunks of work so as to finish painting helps understand concepts of size, speed. The virtues of teamwork, responsibility, and accountability come as a bonus.
3. Organizing a get-together
Make a group and ask them to host a Thanksgiving dinner or a homecoming for a veteran friend. This interesting activity can boost up thinking to attain an objective. The adult learners, in an effort to boost intellectual curiosity, can do this activity to know people, make new friends and expand their networks.
With the help of such a collaborative project to complete, adults suffering from some personality complexes can break their shells and develop their social skills. Reaching out to people, sharing anecdotes, and listening to people’s stories are needed to boost social-emotional intelligence.
4. Role Plays
Adults have to manage various roles in normal life. Some people are happy meeting new challenges, others are afraid of the uncertain. Play method in learning proves beneficial for all ages. This method is extensively employed in role-play activities. In a typical role-play activity, the adult learners are assigned a responsible role.
They may be given a script to enact, the challenge can be increased by asking them to manage their part using their creativity. This activity employs a multisensory learning approach and makes strongly receptive to various situations. The overall result is improved cognition.
5. Playing board games
Board games take the learning beyond pen and copy methods which require proficiency in reading and writing. Those adults who abandon studies need alternatives to conventional methods. Board games offer precisely that. A study conducted on the benefits of board games reveals that these games require making decisions, working in a rules-led environment, and maneuvering things.
A beautiful combination of senses of touch, sound, vision comes into use when learning is done using these playful interventions. Apart from building skills like calculating numbers, learning words, comprehending various situations, the multisensory learning approach of these board games can improve social-emotional skills and indulge in community learning too.
6. Doing a Community Service
Adults who need additional learning or rehabilitation support tend to feel useless at times. To boost their morale, it is important to acquaint them with the fact that contribution, no matter big or small, matters. Indulging in voluntary services is one crucial way, using which the issues related to mental numbness can be addressed.
Multisensory learning for adults is aimed at making people vigilant, responsible, and sociable and also at managing signs of aging. A community service volunteering like developing a garden in a premise offers a practical approach for internalizing skills like measurement, and cognition of space, time, speed. Also, the fruitful engagement of the mind helps reduce stress, depressing thoughts, and loneliness.
7. DIY craft activities that solve a problem
Training for jobs is an important requirement of adults. It can start at home or institute using simulated environments. Activities like finding DIY ways to make a box, fixing broken equipment, or making a working model, etc. are some of the ways which adults can adopt to boost their learning.
A multisensory learning approach for making adults capable of thinking, learning functionalities, and arriving upon a solution through a structured method is utilized reasonably in craft activities.
How these activities promote learning?
Adults can adopt a better learning curve with participatory ways of acquiring skills; these are used extensively in multisensory activities. These activities boost the learning by:
- Stimulating mind and making it more aware of people, places and situations
- Offer sense of achievement that boosts morale and drives adults to trying better and often
- Improve basic skills of language, math and logical reasoning which they can employ in daily activities
- Offer a premise to interact socially and identify emotions like camaraderie, teamwork, achievements etc.
- Allows paying more attention to real capabilities and learning ways to employ those for solving issues
Bayesian Model of Multisensory Approach explains the influence of both unisensory and multisensory approaches on learning. This model insinuates the need to make the environment more conducive to learning by including various elements that promote learning without difficulties or stress. Hence, when you choose to adopt a multisensory approach, pay attention to learning styles, challenges, and outcomes you want to achieve while designing activities.
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