None of us learn the same way. Some of us prefer learning from a textbook. Others enjoy the hands-on approach. No matter what, we all respond differently to learning.
Training is more than a question of our preferences toward learning. Rather, it involves the way our brain is stimulated, and how we retain information. So when you train your employees, avoid making them all learn in the same way.
That’s why you need to mix things up. Try different ways and styles of training. Even though each of your employees has a dominant style that they’re comfortable with, they still use all three to some degree. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:
AUDITORY LEARNERS: THE ONES WHO TALK AND LISTEN
These employees need to talk things out. Give them plenty of time to ask questions, make comments and debrief during training sessions. They learn best when you teach them a point, show them what you mean, and tell them again. Talking things through helps them to remember key points.
When you’re tackling new material, explain where you’re going so they know what to expect. This guides their learning. Include brainstorming and verbal feedback exercises in your training sessions to encourage conversation.
Offer verbal cues such as, “I appreciate the time you take to listen,” “Let me explain further,” or “I hear what you’re saying.” This feedback validates their learning.
VISUAL LEARNERS: THE ONES WHO WATCH AND SEE
Charts, graphs, illustrations and videos. These are key resources for visual learners, stimulating the imaginative side of the brain.
In a training discussion, jot down points on a flipchart or white board. Draw pictures or diagrams to demonstrate what you mean. Use colour when you can. All of these techniques reinforce learning.
You can also provide handouts before, during and after a training session. Include illustrations and lots of white space so employees can take notes. Say things like, “Show me what you mean,” “Can you see what I’m trying to explain?” or “I see the solution as clear as day.”
KINESTHETIC LEARNERS: THE ONES WHO MOVE AND TOUCH
With these employees, avoid long stretches of sitting. They need movement and stimulation to learn. During a training session, provide scheduled breaks, and use music, if possible. The variety interrupts the monotony.
Create activities that involve physical learning, such as a role-playing or group exercise. Provide a hands-on demonstration of a task, and then ask employees to replicate it.
During the training session, you can also use tools such as props, toys, tools or coloured items, which engage the kinesthetic part of their brain. Encourage your people to doodle or draw pictures while they’re taking notes.
As you’re training the employees, say things such as, “Let’s place our cards on the table and talk about it,” “We need to build it from the ground up,” or “She’s as cool as a lemon.”
ALL LEARNERS: THE ONES WHO RETAIN AND SUCCEED
Research shows that these learning styles stimulate different parts of the brain. By involving more of the brain, your employees will remember more of what they learn. If you’re not sure what style to use, refer to the above definitions and ask your employees how they prefer to learn. This will make your training successful, and it will help employees learn vital lessons.