The concept of “learning styles” has been studied extensively in academic settings. It is the basic idea that people understand and retain information differently. However, this notion can often be overlooked when people enter the workforce. In many organizations, training and continual learning is uniform for all employees. Unfortunately, this may not be the best approach for ensuring that employee learning styles are addressed and your staff truly grasps important concepts.
As a corporate learning professional, it is important to understand the various employee learning styles that exist, and how you can adapt your strategy to meet the needs of everyone in your company.
Understanding the Learning Styles
One of the most common ideas surrounding learning styles is that individuals often fall into one of the following categories: auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, visual learners and verbal learners (reading/writing).
- Auditory learners prefer that new content is presented through listening and speaking situations.
- Kinesthetic learners understand information through hands-on practice.
- Visual learners understand information best when it is presented through images.
- Verbal learners learn best through words, specifically through reading and writing.
In many organizations, training and continual learning is uniform for all employees. Unfortunately, this may not be the best approach for ensuring that employees truly grasp important concepts.
Learning Styles in the Workplace
Many corporate learning programs are inadvertently tailored to auditory learners. These individuals thrive when they are presented information through lectures, seminars and group discussions, which are popular methods of training employees. These are the employees who can attend a conference and come back with a thorough understanding of the topic presented.
Kinesthetic learners have an advantage in the workplace as well. The act of performing their job is tied to their preferred learning style. The hands-on learning that occurs in their day-to-day duties helps them to understand and retain information. They may not seem engaged in training workshops, but when left to their own devices, they generally thrive.
Visual learners thrive in an environment that uses images to convey ideas. They prefer graphs and charts over group discussions, and PowerPoints or videos over lectures.
Verbal learners will often be the employees with pages full of notes after a meeting. They understand information best when they can read it or write it down. If they are struggling with a concept, they might take their own time to look it up and read more on it.
Tying the Styles Together with the Right Tools
It can seem daunting to try to incorporate all four learning styles into your company’s corporate learning strategy. However, with the right tools, you can ensure that all employees are given an opportunity to succeed.
Customized learning tools like, Accel5® is a great supplement to any corporate learning program to ensure that all learning styles are covered. For example, the extensive library of videos, such Dorie Clark’s “How to Become More Innovative”, can be beneficial to both auditory and visual learners. Videos ensure that ideas are reinforced using a combination of images and spoken word. They can be used after formal training to reinforce ideas or on their own.
Additionally, Accel5 offers a wide library of business book summaries and articles for verbal learners. These summaries highlight the main points of a book so that verbal leaners can understand the concept in just a few minutes. Download the summary for Leading the Unleadable to see how information is presented in a concise, digestible manner.
All content in Accel5 has been designed so that it can be put into practice immediately – helping kinesthetic learners understand the concepts.