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July 9, 2024

What are the Benefits of Multisensory Instruction?

Multisensory instruction is not a new concept, but has been gaining traction and renewed focus in recent years due to its effectiveness in enhancing learning.

Research indicates when teachers present information in multiple sensory modalities (such as sight, sound, touch, smell, taste or movement) comprehension and retention of information is significantly improved! 

There are SO MANY benefits to implementing multisensory instruction, but I've narrowed down to the top three below! 

1. Using multisensory instruction has a profound impact on memory and knowledge retention 

In 2008 two professors (Landan Shams from UCLA and Aaron Seitz from UCR) hypothesized that because our experience in the world involves constant multisensory stimulation, it is likely that the human brain has evolved to develop, learn and operate optimally in a multisensory environment. 

Their hypothesis was right!  Shams and Seitz (2008) found that multisensory learning enhances the brain's ability to process and recall information.  

More specifically, when educators engage students' brains with multiple senses, stronger and more complex neural connections are created.  These strong connections make it easier for students to retrieve information when needed.

2. Multisensory instruction can be particularly beneficial for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities 

All kids benefit from multisensory instruction, however engaging multiple senses is particularly beneficial for students with learning disabilities.  For example, students who struggle with an auditory processing disorder may have a difficult time with learning via lectures.  Providing students with multiple ways to connect with what they are learning makes it easier for kids to:

      • collect information
      • retain knowledge 
      • make connections between new and known information
      • understand and work through problems
      • use nonverbal problem solving skills 

The International Dyslexia Association highly recommends using the Orton-Gillingham approach when teaching reading.  The Orton-Gillingham approach is a well-known multisensory instructional method, has been extensively researched and proven effective for teaching reading to individuals with dyslexia.

 The success of this approach lies in its structured, explicit, and multisensory nature, which helps students better understand and retain reading skills by reinforcing learning through multiple sensory pathways. 


3. Multisensory instruction can enhance student engagement and motivation

When lessons are dynamic and involve various senses, students are more likely to stay focused and participate actively. A study by Albers and Sanders (2010) demonstrated that multisensory activities could increase student engagement and reduce disruptive behavior in the classroom.

By making learning an interactive and enjoyable experience, multisensory instruction not only supports academic achievement but also fosters a positive attitude towards learning!

It's a great feeling when you know you've crushed your instructional delivery.  Witnessing high engagement and excitement from students is immensely satisfying and doesn't happen by accident!  As educators, we must ensure that we always plan various ways for students to connect with the information we are presenting them.


To sum it up, multisensory instruction benefits ALL students academically, socially and emotionally. 

What teacher doesn't want that?!?

If you are looking for some great ways to engage students check out Slap Words!

Slap Words is a fun and engaging game to review various concepts with students.  The best part is they don't even know they are reviewing because they are having so much fun!  This game has students engaged in visual, auditory and kinesthetic senses!

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