Know Your Learning Styles
Historically, an organization has focused certain time and money on educating/training when either some process or function within the organization has gone awry or an edict to train has come down from high up in the organizational structure. It is at this point that the trainer or educator has had to focus on the “who-to-be-trained” and the “what-to-use” components. Far too often today, the “who” is overlooked because of the rush to adapt the learner to the new networking technologies (the “what-to-use”).
Too bad. For isn’t having well educated/trained students and personnel going to ultimately be more valuable to those individuals – and give more of an ROI to the organization in the long-term? Why have so many of us forgotten the fundamentals of effective learning? How can we assume that learning takes place just because instruction and learning materials are made available? We’d better get back to the basics.
In order to effectively educate/train a group of people, an instructor must have some awareness of the “learning styles” with which he/she is working.
An educator/trainer has to first solve the problem of differing learning styles within his/her organization. For example, some jobs require good reading ability. If the instructor knows this skill is required, then the networking technologies that place lots of words and graphics on the computer screen (Computer-Based Training, known as CBT) is an acceptable choice – as would also hold true for books and manuals.
But what about the vast number of jobs that do not require reading in order for the individual to succeed? Are you going to throw the same books and networking CBT technologies at those individuals? If you do, you will be wasting the resources of your organization – for little learning will be the result – and, consequently, skills improvement will be minimal.
As we’ve noted many times, most people are visual learners when it comes to skills acquisition. ‘Seeing’, ‘hearing’, and ‘doing’ – in combination – is still the best way. Stand-up instruction (with hands-on exercises); distance learning (with good facilitation), videotapes (with hands-on practice), self-paced interactive CD-ROM (with full-motion video and full-audio), and well designed E-Learning with optional audio are all more effective media for the large majority of people seeking to acquire, or improve, skills.
In fact, studies continue to reveal that using “seeing-hearing-doing” media instruction (in a full-motion and audio environment) will increase the majority of learners’ understanding by more than 50%, resulting in a 25-50% greater learning retention, and with a 50-60% greater consistency in content understanding – the ultimate aim of all learning.
— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning
“AMERICA WILL CONTINUE TO BE BUILT BY THE HANDS OF ITS MEN AND WOMEN”