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Learning Styles

A contributing factor to the performance of employees is their learning style. How we learn is important to our success. Our method of learning shows up in how we navigate our daily tasks, process information or relate to others. When we receive information our minds look for a way to understand it and file it. Our brains are full of compartments to store information for later use. That which we cannot file tends to end up in the proverbial ‘File 13’! In this case what do use gets tossed into the trash and lost.

While we are fed information continually, when it comes to helping our performance in any area our need is to take new information and apply it. This cannot be done unless we can process it for application. For instance, when we are in a hurry to do a tasks and must read through a document to get an answer some of us (depending on the size of a document):

  • will skim it looking for key words to fit our scenario OR

  • will look for diagrams which relate to our scenario and follow those OR

  • will ask somebody if they can help because they don’t have time to look for anything in the document. LOL!

There are many learning styles with some of the most common ones being: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

  • Visual: Reading it works for them. Seeing the words helps them to absorb the information and helps them apply it to the appropriate situation.

  • Auditory: They listen. Hearing the instructions helps them to retaining and apply the information given.

  • Kinesthetic: The doers. They can read and hear the information, the best application for them is doing the steps the information list.

There are several more styles as well as combinations of styles and the internet offers many articles of explanation. Having at least a working knowledge of how your individual staff members learn can aid in how information is presented to them. The application here is especially true regarding training, particularly if it is 1:1. Granted, when training larger groups of staff it is more effective to cater to the more common styles listed above, but it may be helpful to add what you can of other styles as you can. Consider small groups or breakout groups to add support to the other styles. Your staff will appreciate being asked about their learning styles, because it aids them in application of this new information. Let’s be honest, it is one thing to be in a required training; insult to injury is when you can’t apply what is being taught because is only done in one method.

Consider this as a new strategy this year. Ask your staff in what ways do they learn best. Then apply their answers and notice the outcome.

Test what is said here. Come back and let us know what you discovered.

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