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The Ultimate Guide to Building a Better Workforce: Part Three – Training & Development Styles

Employee learning styles should be considered when building a workforce development program. Learn the best ways to train employees based on their learning styles.

For both new and existing employees, you want to be sure that you create a corporate learning program that is effective for all learning styles. The concept of “learning styles” outlines how individuals learn. This idea has been studied extensively in academic settings; however, it can often be overlooked in the workplace.

Many organizations have a “one-size-fits-all” approach to training and development but this may not be the best way to ensure that employee learning styles are addressed and important concepts are understood.

Understanding Learning Styles

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.

Learning Styles in the Workplace

Many corporate learning programs are inadvertently tailored to auditory learners because they benefit individuals who thrive when they are presented with information via lectures, seminars and group discussions — formats that are popular employee training methods. An example would be employees who can attend a conference and come back with a thorough understanding of the topic presented.

Individuals often fall into one of the following categories: auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, visual learners and verbal learners (reading/writing).

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. To help kinesthetic learners retain new information, you could consider more “hands-on” workshops, or a “buddy program” where they can teach a coworker what they’ve learned.

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. Help visual learners understand key concepts with engaging videos on relevant topics that will hold their attention.

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. Provide verbal learners with a tool that will help them access reputable materials for their independent research.

Training and Developing All Learning Styles

It can seem daunting to try to incorporate all four learning styles into your training and development strategy. However, with the right approach, you can ensure that all employees are given an opportunity to succeed.

Need ideas for different training and development strategies? Download our full Ultimate Guide to Building a Better Workforce for a chart that you can utilize to develop a holistic employee learning program.

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