While the goal of each training session varies, the ultimate goal is the same - increase the employee’s knowledge so they may better accomplish their job. To do so, a company must build its learning content to match the various styles of learning, which varies from generation to generation, as well as personal tastes. It is important that the trainer can assess and identify these styles to implement appropriate employee training processes, with strategies that work better for each learning style, as well as ones to avoid.
Let’s start by assessing the most common learning styles and then take a look at the blended learning models that can be used to reach employees with particular learning behaviors.
1. Visual (Spatial) Learners
Traits of Visual Learners
- They are usually creative in their thinking and approach to problem-solving
- They tend to be impatient
- They may frequently interrupt
- They talk fast and enjoy verbal communication
- They describe things in a manner that evokes visual images
Strategies for Training Visual Learners
Approximately 65% of all people are visual learners. Social media sharing trends have shown us that most people value content that is rich in graphics or videos to express even the simplest message. Therefore, it is important to include these in your company’s learning content. E-learning environments are perfect for including this method of instruction as displaying a picture is often easier than creating lengthy swaths of texts to convey the same information.
2. Auditory (Aural) Learners
Traits of Auditory Learners
- Tendency to speak slowly
- They are natural and patient listeners
- They are linear in their thinking and approach to problem-solving
Strategies for Training Auditory Learners
About 30% of people are auditory learners. Astoundingly, they retain about 75% of information when consumed in an auditory format, like a lecture or podcast. Using tools like group discussions will be highly beneficial for this group.
3. Kinesthetic (Physical) Learners
Traits of Kinesthetic Learners
- They talk slowly
- They are methodical in their thinking and approach to problem-solving
- They are contemplative and take time making most decisions
- They engage their senses when solving problems
- They value practical knowledge over theoretical concepts
Strategies for Training Kinesthetic Learners
Tactile or kinesthetic learners need to put their hands to something in order to most effectively learn. However, they can learn by watching others perform as well as through interaction with the computer. They need to put all the lessons into practice as soon as possible, though, to complete the learning process. These types of learners provide the biggest challenge for the most e-learning environments. One strategy is to provide instruction time, followed by a lab where the new skill can be demonstrated and practiced. Interactive computer programs should be utilized to keep the kinesthetic learner engaged.
4. Read/Write Learners
Traits of Read/Write Learners
- They prefer text-based communication
- They enjoy reading
- They express their ideas more easily in writing
- They respond to infographics and diagrams
- They are list makers and note takers
- They problem solve by “writing through it”
Strategies for Training Read-write Learners
The best strategy for reaching this group of learners is to provide well-written engaging learning content. Graphics, videos, and diagrams should be captioned and described. Encourage note taking. Computer testing modules should, in addition to, multiple choice distractors, also provide long form input. This allows the learner to express their answers or the reason for their answer in writing, which helps greatly with retention.
Blended Learning Models
Learning requirements and preferences of each learner vary, as well, they can be mixed. One may better learn some subjects visually while other subjects kinesthetically. For this reason, organizations should attempt a blend of training approaches in their eLearning strategies. Blended learning will combine multiple types of media designed in ways that complement each other and promote retention for each learning behavior. Infographics are an excellent tool to incorporate the various teaching modalities needed to reach learners of all types. Video and sound clips can be embedded, and a mixture of text and graphics is used to explain and show a concept. Blended learning can also include a variety of learning activities in a number of environments including physical classroom training, guided e-learning, self-paced e-learning and hands-on practicum.
While no two people learn in the exact same way, most of us share traits that place us in one or more of the four groups discussed. A company seeking to build their learning content around the styles of learning may also consider a more inclusive blended approach utilizing the various learning style strategies.
Knowledge Anywhere can help your company develop a training and eLearning solutions that meet the needs of all your employees regardless of the style in which they learn. Contact us today to learn more!