3 Common Learning Styles and How to Train Them

We all learn differentlybut it wasn’t until the 1970s that experts and educators really started to delve into the science of different learning types. Depending on your perspective, that’s pretty recent, and that means that many of the more traditional, one-size fits all, training programs are still in place today.

While the benefits of tailoring teaching and training to specific learning styles have not yet been proven, providing students with different ways to learn has been shown to increase the retention of content. Incorporating all of these training tips will ensure that you reach everyone optimally.

Visual: These learners are readers and observers. They benefit in training from charts, graphs, pictures, diagrams, film and writing directions. The visual learner will often visualize concepts as they are learning them. They also rely strongly on to-do or check lists when getting work done. They will especially retain information when they are able to see demonstrations of the content.

How to Train a Visual Learner:

  • Any time you present them with content, make sure that it comes with a written supplement. For instance, conferences or meetings should always have a bulleted agenda to follow along with (graphs and charts are a bonus).
  • When giving assignments, simply asking or telling isn’t enough. Whatever communication tools you use in your office, make sure that the task is written or typed somewhere for them to actually see the request.
  • Whenever possible, demonstrate how to use the information being presented.
  • When presenting or training, if you see your audience mentally checking out, ask them to visualize whatever process or information you are discussing.

Auditory: Obviously this learner retains information that they hear best. Much like visual learners have trouble with strictly auditory learning, auditory learners find it hard to learn from or understand written instructions. The auditory learner benefits from repeating what they’ve heard; it is a retention mechanism for them. Surprisingly enough, auditory learners are known for their need for background noise. They are also quite receptive when it comes to reading tones, inflection and mood in the voice.

How to Train the Auditory Learner:

  • Anytime there is reading material in the training program, go over the material with them.
  • Ask the learner to repeat back to the trainer what they’ve just learned, either out loud or in their notes.
  • Give the group the option to have music in the background. This will help auditory learners and it will liven up the training session.
  • The presenter must be genuine and excited about the material. The auditory learner will pick up on it if they aren’t.

Kinesthetic: These are the hands on learners. They learn best by incorporating the physical and mental actions associated with the material. This considerably smaller group of learners are considered the “do-ers”. Like the other styles of learners, they have can have trouble learning in any other way than their particular style. They love to move around; action or movement seems to turn their brain on. In fact, kinesthetic learners' short- and long-term memories are strengthened by their use of movement. This group also benefits from background noise when learning.

How to Train the Kinesthetic Learner:

  • Whenever possible, have the tools or objects that they will need to implement the training information present during the training session.
  • Have soft music in the background.
  • Turn off the fasten seatbelt sign and encourage participation.
  • Frequent, small breaks keep their brains revved up.

Whichever type of learners you are training, each style provides great tips that willincrease retention of information for everyone. These training techniques will ensure a lively, interactive and all-encompassing training program. Dynamic training is how to reach them all!

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Tags: Human Resources, Learning, Recruiting Tools / Sourcing

Comment by Megan Bell on February 19, 2014 at 9:37am

Quick read and good info to get out to my hiring managers for onboarding; thanks Sean!

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