Health Literacy Consulting How-To Tip
June, 2010

Hearing, Seeing, Doing: Are You Teaching In Ways People Learn?

We all have our own ways of learning. While some people learn by hearing information, others do better when seeing examples or doing hands-on activities. Often, people learn in more than one way, or learn in different ways at different times. Try to use several techniques when teaching important health concepts. Here are some how-to examples.

Hearing. Auditory learners are those who learn best when hearing information. This can happen through face-to-face conversations, group discussions, or by phone (including conference calls and webinars). As well, auditory learners are likely to benefit from listening to podcasts, the radio, or CDs. Sometimes, auditory learners will use figures of speech such as, "I hear what you are saying."

Seeing. Visual learners do well when they see pictures, read handouts, watch videos, or view demonstrations. They might also be inclined to show you their sketches, confirming you understand by saying something like, "See what I mean."

Doing. Kinesthetic learners want to touch and do. This includes performing hands-on activities as well as taking notes. Learning like this can take place in one-to-one encounters as well as group interactions. A kinesthetic learner might respond to a practice session by saying, "This feels right to me."

You can help all learners by offering a variety of teaching techniques. Here are some ways I help people learn about health literacy:

  • Health Literacy Out Loud. In this audio podcast series, I interview others about all aspects of health literacy. To learn more, listen, and subscribe for free, go to 
  • Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message. This book includes lots of examples and practical how-to strategies you can use right away. To learn more, go to
  • Health literacy workshops and presentations. My presentation style is informative yet informal, offering participants  opportunity to practice as they learn. To learn more, go to

For permission to include Health Literacy Consulting Tips in your organization's newsletter, please contact Helen Osborne by e-mail at:, or by phone at: 508-653-1199.