You may have left school some time ago, but you constantly learn new information. The way you best learn and remember information is determined by your learning style. There are four widely-regarded styles: visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic. Understanding the best ways to take in new information is the key to connecting with it.
Like you, your employees have unique learning styles as well. Because of this, you must conduct meetings and create trainings that accommodate different learning styles. You can better educate employees and promote improved productivity by supporting their learning styles.
Employee Education That Connects
Everyone has a learning style that works for them. That means that all of your employees learn differently. Some of your staff may be able to read a memo and perform their duties as expected. Others may need to hear key details to recall them better later. Successfully continuing education in the workplace relies on a strong connection between employees and new information.
Why You Should Pay Attention to Adult Learning Styles
By considering your employee’s learning styles, you can better present new information. For example, a visual learner will understand big-picture trends better with a graph. They can better retain new details because they’ve seen them represented. Your visual learner will be able to recall the graphs and charts as they return to their assignments. A well-informed employee will better understand and comply with standard operating procedures and company protocol.
Your Employees Will Thank You
Your employees want to learn information and apply it to their work. Understanding and accommodating your employees’ learning styles will improve their performance and overall productivity. Staff will feel supported when you implement small changes to reach them better during meetings or training.
The Types of Adult Learning Styles
Your employees may have one of four noted learning styles: visual, auditory, reading and writing, or kinaesthetic. Their adult learning style directly impacts how they receive, retain, and remember information. Let’s examine the types in depth.
A visual learner connects with the information they can see. Symbols, charts, graphs, and general picture representations will resonate more with someone with a visual learning style.
Auditory learners are great listeners who obtain new information by hearing it. They respond well to lectures, reading notes aloud, direct verbal instruction, and participating in discussions.
Someone with a read/write learning style favors reading instructions and taking notes. They benefit from taking notes and reading explicit textual directions. Your employees with a read/write learning style remember what they’ve written much better than what they’ve heard.
Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. They’re the people that throw away the directions when assembling a new coffee table. Kinesthetic learners like hands-on interaction with information and thrives when using all of their senses.
Customize Your Training To Your Employees
When you understand how your employees learn, you can customize training that supports their learning style. Creating training that accommodates all learners ensures that every employee can connect with the material. If that sounds daunting, consider working with a firm specializing in training creation. Schedule a consultation to learn how custom training can support your employees’ learning styles.
Outside of training, there are simple ways you can accommodate different learning styles in meetings and discussions.
Visual learners benefit from having something to look at when learning new information. You can implement visual representations in training, meetings, and general information reporting. Here are some ways you can support visual learning.
- Graphs and Charts: Show, don’t tell. Your company likely already plots data into charts or graphs, so share those with your visual learners. They will better remember the information and trends presented when they’ve seen them.
- Pictures: Sometimes, your employee may need a picture representation to remember a concept. For more abstract ideas that may include a lot of details, images can help a visual learner imagine the end goal. For example, a new facility may be hard to imagine with words alone. A mock-up or conceptual picture will make that facility come to life.
- Underline and Differentiate Text: Draw attention to key items and details by underlining or changing the font color. Is your document in black and white? Try adding red, blue, or purple words to draw the visual learner’s eye to essential items.
Connecting with auditory learners may be as simple as repeating directions. Nevertheless, some easy-to-implement accommodations can support your employees with an auditory learning style.
- Repeat Instructions: Repetition helps everyone remember information, but it really works for auditory learners. They may even need fewer repeated directions because they’re such good listeners.
- Record Meetings and Training Seminars: Let your employees access meeting recordings so they can go back and listen to essential information and key details. A second listen can help your auditory learners better cement information.
- Discuss and Follow Up: An auditory learner also benefits from repeating information themselves. Having a brief follow-up meeting or discussion will reinforce directions or information.
Read/Write learners are also referred to as graphic learners. These employees will get the most out of reading information and making their own notes. Here are some ways you can support this adult learning style.
- Printed Slides: If you’re presenting a slideshow, print your slides out with corresponding spots for note-taking. Your employees can use that space to keep track of ideas, concepts, and critical information.
- Cloze Notes: Take a page from the education field and use cloze notes for your training materials. Cloze notes are outlines with key details removed. They allow your employee to follow along and participate in the learning process by writing key details.
- Rewrite Notes: Because read/write learners remember by physically writing and connecting to the words written, you should encourage them to reorganize or rewrite their notes. You can even ask a read/write learner to summarize the meeting in an email for others.
Kinesthetic employees may be challenging to reach as they learn by engaging with something. They use their senses to gain new information and make discoveries. Though it may seem challenging, there are ways to support your kinesthetic learners.
- Real-World Connections: Connect new concepts to familiar situations and ideas. For example, if you’re introducing a new process, compare it to an established one. Touch upon the experiences and their similarity – set an expectation.
- Encourage Participation: Get your kinesthetic learner involved in the meeting through roleplays and brainstorming sessions. They will benefit from actively imagining themselves engaging with your presented concept.
- Incorporate Movement Breaks: Your meetings may not require a movement break, but a long training can run together for a kinesthetic learner. Allowing time to be active between large chunks of information will help these employees commit the last details to memory.
Understanding how your employees learn is the key to employee education and training. Presenting new ideas in a way that supports staff learning styles helps employees remember and recall information. At Great Lakes Advisory, we can help you create training that accommodates all adult learning styles. Contact us today, and let us tell you how we can help you better support your employees.