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Develop with Style – Learning Styles That Is


In this online, get it now, instant gratification world we live in, delivering training, particularly on difficult or complex topics, becomes an interesting challenge. Break it down, make it fun, don’t bore me…all cries from those who sit in training sessions and really, truly want to learn, but…

Let’s face it. Training is another victim to the “trend of the month” and can be easily caught up in the technology of the moment. Gamification, on-line videos, scenario-based learning – all valid, all tactics we have covered, and all work IF you remember the basics. People learn differently, at varied paces, and need training developed to meet them where they are, not how you want to them learn (or what is easiest for you to deliver).

The Big 3

There are three well-known learning styles – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. When developing any training program, it is critical to remember the big 3 and how these people learn.

Visual – these learners need information placed in front of them to see. To help them with retention, use graphs, diagrams, flow charts – anything that can visually demonstrate the concept you are trying to teach. Videos are good, as are presentation software packages such as PowerPoint or Prezi. Visual learners are ready-made for online learning since it is so simple to provide them with information to view.

Auditory – these folks learn by listening. They need to hear the point, so creating audio components to your presentations certainly help. And, even better is these learners don’t require talking. Just having music as part of the presentation will help an auditory learner stay focused and follow the lessons more easily.

Kinesthetic – often called tactile learners, these folks learn by doing. They need to use their hands, body and the sense of touch to drive home the learning. Because they understand better by doing, these people are often called discovery learners. Now, online learning does not readily avail itself to kinesthetic learners. However, with the advent of scenario-based learning and the ability to provide interactivity via games, keeping kinesthetic learners focused and able to learn via online channels is easier than ever before.

Use Them All

The reality is that you cannot know what type of learner you have in a training session, particularly online. So it is prudent to incorporate all three learning styles into every course developed. This may seem daunting, but really is not if you plan ahead. Ensure that the courses have a way to drive home learning with testing, interactive sessions and peer-to-peer coaching. Remember that the styles can be accommodated easily if you start with the end in mind.

One of the reasons on-the-job training is so popular, other than it’s easy, is it seems to work. It is because the learner can have their style accommodated and receive appropriate repetition. The same can hold true for online training if you prepare. Remember to include varying methods to ask the same questions. Don’t make it too repetitious or boring, but don’t be afraid to revisit important concepts in more than one module.

The most successful online learning will start with the basics, remember the primary learning styles, and then use the new tools available to accommodate every style while driving home important learning goals. That’s training with style!