What I Know About Training - Learning Styles
This is the second post of a series I am dedicating to things I have learnt in my years as a Learning and Development specialist. And this one is about the individual, or more specifically, their learning styles.
There are various theories on learning styles, by far the most popular ones are the VAK and Honey and Mumford's typology. But what I have found is that you can use the most detailed and comprehensive theory but if you don't apply it in practice, it is useless. Whichever model you use, I think the below will apply. So let's dive in.
First of all, you need to know what the styles are and which one is your preferred approach to learning. There are various questionnaires you can take online that can give you an indication. The benefits are two-fold: you can design activities that will cater to all styles, and you learn about your own preferences. A silent benefit is that it also makes you aware of how your personal style might affect the training design.
Secondly, and I have already mentioned this, you need to cater to all learning styles. More often than not, we do not know what are the preferences of the people that walk into our training room. There are simple things you can do at the begging of a session to find out; but that would require you to have a lot of time. And let's face, as trainers, we rarely get allotted the time that's actually required. So instead, you create an insurance policy of a kind - any activity needs to cater to all learning styles at the same time. So how would that work exactly? Let's take the VAK (Visual, Audio, Kinesthetic) as an example:
Visual: this would include any visual aids, flipcharts, slides, pictures, and so on
Audio: this would be the explanation you give, any podcasts you listen to together and others
Kinesthetic: this is the touch, the do, the give-it-a-go element and is all about trying things out yourself.
What I mean by combining is that your activity needs to have elements from all 3 of these. So ask the group to draw on a flipchart, prepare a small presentation and do a role-play all at the same time. There will be topics that will be conductive to such synesthesia (by the way, Google this term, ad agencies are bending over backwards to find new ways to use synesthesia). Other topics will be more difficult. But at the end of the day, remember the styles and try to combine them.
I hope this helps. Curious to know - what other tricks to you apply with your learning styles knowledge?
Till next time!
P.S. If you're interested to know more about anything related to training, please give me a shout and I will dedicate the next post to that topic.
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