Matching Technology to Learning Styles in a Sensory Story.

The work of such people as Howard Gardner (1983) and Barbara Prashnig (1998), has raised the profile of individual learning styles, or as Clive Smith describes them, ‘learning strengths.’ (Hirstwood & Smith 2012.)

Yet, there is little reference to the concept of individual learning styles in the education of pupils with SEND. Where it does, it all almost universally focuses upon the visual learning style, as promoted by and reinforced by the work of Temple Grandin (1995) in ‘Thinking in Pictures’.

So, does the concept of learning styles have any further positive contribution to make to our teaching style when working with learners with SEND?

Much of the technology employed in sensory stories is visual, and practitioners need to ensure that technology is also employed to support the development of the other senses.  We need to create and deliver sensory stories which meet an individual’s multiple learning styles, utilising the most appropriate technology available to us.

However, a word of caution.  Whilst it is useful to offer multiple ways of accessing learning, it may not be as useful to identify an individual as only a particular type of learner, i.e. only a visual learner etc.  Hood et al (2017) offer a different viewpoint on evidence supporting the existence of learning styles.

In this series, we will look at the various learning styles, as described by Howard Gardner, and offer suggestions as to how technology can be matched to these and incorporated into an individual’s learning experiences during a sensory story.

This week – mathematical/logistical learners.

Some learners needrhythm/sequences/patterns to learn – here are some suggestions.

CSTR Physics – App

Design and ride your very own realistic roller coaster, and see how quantities like speed, acceleration, energy and g-force change as you ride along the track.

iOS –


Car Dash by Andy Pidcock.

Web tool.

Music which stops and starts, providing the learner with the opportunity to start/stop the roller coaster in the CSTR Physics App.




Howard Gardner (1983) Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences  London: Fontana Press Page 5

Barbara Prashnig (1998) The Power of Diversity New Zealand: David Bateman Ltd.

Hirstwood & Smith (2012)  Learning Styles and Autism. Online available through (Accessed 8 April 2018)

Temple Grandin (1995) ‘Thinking in Pictures’ New York: Vintage Books/Random House

Hood et al (2017) No evidence to back idea of learning styles. Online available through (Accessed 20 June 2017)