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How do Your Employees Learn?

Once again, staff training and team development is in the spotlight as many companies are really focusing on this for 2016. Training falls into a number of categories including some of the following:

  1. Compliance

  2. Skills development

  3. Broadening skillset

  4. Expanding knowledge base

  5. Exploring new markets

  6. Building proficiency of new technology

Regardless of the subject matter, when designing training programs for your team an important consideration is that the program is tailored to meet the needs not only of the organization, but of the participants’ best mode of absorption. It’s no sense training people in a way that they won’t remember what they learned or be able to effectively incorporate the lessons into their daily work. So it is important to build your training program to take advantage of the learning style of the recipients of the program.

Everyone learns in a different way. Understanding the training styles that your team responds to can make the difference between success and failure in your training and development goals. According to one study different learning styles are broken down as follows:

  1. Visual learners make up 20.6%.  These groups of people need photos, drawings, pictures, graphs, flow charts animations, videos and other visual aids to really make the subject sink in and make sense.

  2. Auditory learners use hearing as their primary method to make sense (no pun intended) of what they are learning. 25.1% of all learners respond best to lectures, podcasts, audio books, and other tools that focus on listening to more easily retain material delivered with no visual aids.

  3. 27.6% are Kinesthetic learners. These people need hands on, participatory activities for the best learning experience. The best way for these learners to absorb materials is to do it themselves… step by step instructions with do-it yourself practice works best. If you want to teach them to use PowerPoint, have them build a PowerPoint presentation.

  4. 26.8% learn best in a Reading–Writing scenario. Ideally, they need the opportunity to read material and then transpose what they’ve read into written form for best absorption and comprehension… read something and write a summary report with highlights.

Obviously, you are not going to create or buy 4 different versions of a training program to appeal to different learners’ styles. Understanding the types of learners you have will help you design a course that has a balance of the different techniques so that all learners are able to absorb the content. By analyzing the workers’ styles by department you may find that some jobs have staffers that largely fall into a couple of distinct categories. Knowing this you can help you find or create the best program featuring styles that appeal to those preferences. It’s all about reaching the goals of having skills and concepts absorbed and adapted by your team.

Just like an architect, you need to know what sort of ground you’re constructing on to make sure the building is planned and executed well. Building a hotel on a beach requires different materials and different styles compared to a mountain-top ski resort. Use the same sense when building your training programs. Knowing your team largely responds to Visual and Kinesthetic styles should guide how you build your training program.

In the coming weeks we’ll explore how to integrate the different styles into both in-person and eLearning teaching programs.

See more on HeR’s training Services.

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