When you are considering developing a training program for your employees, you would primarily focus on designing a training program that would impart the desired skills to your employees. Your primary focus would be on the ‘what to teach’ aspect of it. And you may overlook the other crucial aspect, i.e., ‘how to teach’. However, you need to respect the fact that a single pedagogical strategy cannot cater to the needs of all learners. You need to devise a multi-pronged instructional strategy to suit your learners’ learning styles and preferences. In short, if you want your training program to be effective, you need to recognize the different types of learners.
Types of Learners
Though there are different ways to differentiate learners, they all broadly distinguish learners as:
- Doers: These people learn best by doing. They take interest in applying what they learn. In other words, they prefer hands-on experience to theory.
- Feelers: These learners are outgoing. They prefer unstructured learning environments. They focus on emotions and feelings.
- Observers: These people learning by watching and listening. They prefer learning by exploring.
- Thinkers: These are independent learners. They like to analyze and discuss ideas and concepts with others.
Know Your Learners
Now, as part of designing a suitable training program for your employees, first attempt to know what type of learners you have. For this, make a suitable questionnaire and elicit responses. This will give you a fairly good idea about your learners. Depending on whether you have a homogeneous or heterogeneous learning group, you can adopt suitable training methods.
Decide on Suitable Learning Activities
Implement your pedagogical strategies depending on the various types of your learners. For instance, if you have a large number of doers in your learning group, provide lots of practice-based learning models. Present them real-time examples and hands-on activities. Couple them with short lectures, role plays, group discussions, and take-home exercises to suit other learning styles. It will balance your training program.
Adopt Positive Reinforcement
A training program should make sense to both the organization and the trainee. As the promoter of the training, you expect certain positive change in the performance of your trainees. Your trainees should feel that the training will add to their skill set and make them more productive in their work. You can achieve this when you fill your training with rich content and positive instruction.
You need also be able to evaluate whether your employees show the desired performance change. When they show it, you should compliment them and reinforce it. Otherwise, you need to guide them. For this you need flexible pedagogy and expert trainers. Ensure that your training program has that kind of flexibility.
As adults, your employees have already developed their own learning experiences; your training should complement these experiences by providing learning processes that suit their learning styles.
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