Use Your Team’s Learning Style to Your Advantage
In our ever-evolving workplaces, employees are constantly bombarded with all sorts of information. The problem with this kind of information overload is that it can quickly lead to lower productivity for your team. One way to effectively ensure employees properly absorb all that information and put it to good use is to understand each workers’s personal learning style.
What is Your Learning Style?
“No longer can employees, managers, and others in the business community ignore the fact that the workplace is changing. Professionals come to the workplace with a variety of personalities, skill sets, aptitudes, abilities, and learning styles.”
(Learning Styles Among International and American Business Students, McPherson and Willis, 2010)
Each individual possesses a learning style that works more effectively for them than others. Some people learn better by seeing or hearing. Others learn best with hands-on experience.
Helping your team to discover their individual learning styles allows them to comprehend information faster and more effectively. Additionally, an awareness of your team’s different learning styles allows you to present them with information in a way that is more conducive to their own learning style.
Here’s a closer look at the different types of ways people learn and process information.
Individuals with a visual learning style process information first by what they see. These learners like to watch demonstrations before actually trying the task themselves.
Visual learners process information best with:
- written instructions
- graphs and charts
- color coded notes
- instructional videos
- photographs or illustrations
Employees with an auditory learning style prefer to listen first and have information explained to them in a step-by-step process. For the information to stick, they require dialogue and verbal instructions in addition to any visual examples.
- one-on-one conferences and dialogues
- verbal analogies and oral paraphrasing
- audio recordings
- tape recorders or smartphones to recite notes
Those with a kinesthetic learning style are also known as tactile learners. They absorb information best through action. Additionally, for the information to stick, they have to physically do the task themselves.
- skimming through instructions before reading in detail
- translating info into diagrams or charts while reading instructions in detail
- taking active notes during meetings, interviews, or training
- memorizing information while engaging in physical activity
- annotating text while reading
- using flashcards
- also known as tactile learners
How do your colleagues learn?
When you know how to best teach your employees new skills, increased productivity isn’t far behind. Being aware of your employees’ learning styles will give your company a tremendous advantage. Bear in mind the types of learners in your company in order to increase the effectiveness of your meetings, presentations, training sessions and overall work relationships.
Include different modes of communication when you create a report or presentation, such as including colorful charts for visual learners, reiterating the key points in your lecture for the auditory learners and allowing kinesthetic learners to take active notes during training. Being aware of learning styles also provides more opportunities to involve your team. When they understand the material with relative ease, they are better able to relay the information to others.