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Research on Multisensory Learning in Education

Updated: May 22


Multisensory learning engages multiple senses to enhance educational experiences, integrating sight, hearing, touch, and sometimes taste, leading to richer and more effective learning. This paper, explores the benefits of multisensory learning, particularly in literacy instruction, examining the neuroscience behind this approach and its role in creating varied educational experiences that accommodate different learning styles. Drawing on studies from and other sources, we discuss how multisensory learning enhances memory retention, improves engagement, and supports effective instruction in homeschooling and beyond. Additionally, insights from Esplendori et al., and Shams and Seitz, illustrate the advantages of multisensory training protocols over unisensory approaches.


Multisensory learning involves using various senses to engage students, thereby enhancing the learning process. This approach can accommodate diverse learning styles, as not every child learns in the same way. By integrating auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements, multisensory learning creates a more comprehensive and engaging educational experience, leading to improved memory retention and increased student interest. Studies suggest that the brain is optimized for multisensory environments, indicating that traditional unisensory training protocols may not engage learning mechanisms as effectively as multisensory ones (Shams & Seitz, 2008).

Definition and Neuroscience Basis

Multisensory learning has a strong basis in neuroscience. It engages multiple senses, activating different brain regions to enhance learning and memory. According to Esplendori et al., "receptors for each of the sensory systems provide neural representation of the external world so that information from the sense organs flows centrally to the brain regions involved in cognition." Shams and Seitz (2008) point out that our everyday experiences involve constant multisensory stimulation, suggesting that the human brain has evolved to learn optimally in such environments. This reinforces the effectiveness of multisensory training protocols for educational purposes.

Benefits of Multisensory Learning

Multisensory learning offers several benefits, including:

  • Accommodating Different Learning Styles: By combining auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements, multisensory learning appeals to various learning preferences, allowing students to grasp concepts in ways that suit them best.

  • Enhanced Engagement and Memory Retention: This approach tends to be more enjoyable and engaging, leading to improved memory retention. As noted by Shams and Seitz (2008), multisensory training protocols can better approximate natural settings and are more effective for learning.

  • Holistic Approach to Learning: Multisensory learning allows educators to create comprehensive lesson plans that connect with students on multiple levels, making it easier to understand and retain complex information. Incorporating real-life activities like cooking, gardening, and art provides additional pathways for engagement.

Multisensory Learning and Literacy

Literacy and multisensory learning go hand-in-hand. According to (2019), reading is inherently multisensory, involving the recognition of written words and the corresponding sounds. Sensory-based teaching methods can strengthen reading skills. A 2018 study using fMRI technology, which measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow, found that children with the strongest literacy skills had greater interactivity between different brain regions, suggesting that reading involves a holistic brain response.

Implementation Strategies for Multisensory Learning

To implement multisensory learning effectively, educators and parents can adopt various strategies, especially in homeschooling contexts. Visual aids, graphic organizers, and color-coding notes are effective for visual learners. For auditory learners, listening to audiobooks and incorporating verbal explanations can enhance comprehension. Kinesthetic elements like role-playing, art, and hands-on activities help kinesthetic learners grasp concepts more effectively. By combining these approaches, educators can create engaging and effective learning experiences.


Multisensory learning offers a valuable approach to education, particularly in literacy instruction. By engaging multiple senses, this approach enhances engagement, memory retention, and overall learning outcomes. The versatility of multisensory learning makes it suitable for various educational contexts, including homeschooling and traditional classrooms. As research continues to support its effectiveness, multisensory learning is likely to play an increasingly important role in education.



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