No matter what type of company or industry you work in, you’re probably incredibly aware that everyone is different. Everyone thinks differently, works differently, and even learns differently. While these differences can be frustrating at times, the more you embrace them, the more beneficial it will be. Utilizing different abilities and strengths is a must, and most employers know that. At the same time, engaging different thought processes or reasoning can also be advantageous. However, many employers struggle to understand the importance of catering to different learning styles within the workplace, and that can cause a number of challenges and frustrations amongst each individual in the company.
Before your employees were adults, they were students at one time. They attended school and learned the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic from teachers who sought to engage them, educate them, and keep them involved in learning. Teachers utilize a variety of learning techniques and methods, called differentiation, to appeal to each student’s learning style so that every individual can absorb, understand, and retain as much information as possible.
As an employer, manager, or executive, you can also utilize multiple strategies to cater to different learning styles within your company. Whether you’re training a new employee, implementing a new policy, or providing continuing education for your staff, embrace the different learning styles and watch your company grow, thrive, and succeed.
There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Format
Whether we’re talking about students in a classroom, employees in a new job, or experts in their field completing a training program, teaching and learning happens in a variety of ways. There isn’t a single group of people where every person learns in the same way, so there is no one-size-fits-all training program or educational model that will work for every person or in every situation. Even if you’re doing a workshop on communication in the workplace, each person will learn differently and will communicate differently, so it’s important to differentiate how you’re teaching so everyone has equal opportunity to learn.
Provide a Variety of Options to Create a More Effective Learning Environment
Since there are multiple learning styles, the most effective instruction will include a variety of ways for the participants to absorb and retain the information being presented.
Visual learners are all about seeing what they need to learn. This comes in the form of pictures, graphs, charts, diagrams, lists, and other things they can see and look at. In an educational setting, visual learners prefer to have slide shows accompanying lectures or charts rather than written explanations of concepts or statistics. In the workplace, visual learners will also prefer graphs, diagrams, and the like to understand what is being expected of them or why a certain task is particularly important.
Auditory learners are people who learn by hearing. Information can either be spoken by themselves or someone else, but they learn best when they hear information out loud. Students who are auditory learners prefer lectures, presentations, and group discussions. At the same time, employees who are auditory learners will enjoy discussions with their colleagues and will be actively engaged in question and answer opportunities.
Reading and writing learners learn most effectively by interacting with written words. These individuals won’t retain as much when looking at pictures and charts or simply by hearing information, but when they can read text or respond with writing, they will absorb material more effectively. When in school, reading and writing learners tend to enjoy and do well with individual reading time, writing assignments, and written quizzes. Similarly, in the workplace, reading and writing learners will thrive by responding to writing prompts and reading or answering written material.
Kinesthetic learners are hands-on people who learn best by doing. Getting up and moving, performing a new task by themselves, or actively participating in an activity will help kinesthetic learners pick up new information best. In school, kinesthetic learners will thrive when asked to use their bodies to represent the parts of a cell or when participating in a review session that involves physically walking to different stations in the room. When you have employees who are kinesthetic learners, try to embrace physical activities that get them out of their seats and try to demonstrate concepts or new ideas with your employees.