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Different Types of Learning Styles & their Relevance to L&D Programs

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Different Types of Learning Styles & their Relevance to L&D Programs

Learning & Development (L & D) Departments have become an integral part of today’s organizational structure. Employees are constantly in need of upgrading their skills; developing an effective and efficient learning program will help do this efficiently and economically. In this context, it helps to understand the different learning styles and tailor courses keeping in mind the learning preferences of individuals.

In simple terms, Learning Style refers to the most preferred method in which information is absorbed and assimilated. In a very broad sense, there are three different types of learning styles – Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Let’s take a look at what each of them mean individually.

Visual Learners: Visual learners understand and retain information when it is presented to them in visual form – either in the form of diagrams, flow charts, graphs or maps. They would prefer to watch a live demonstration of how things work instead of reading about it. Including video clips or animations of the working of the equipment would be beneficial to such learners.

Auditory Learners: As the name suggests, they tend to assimilate ideas or concepts better when they hear them. They tend to favor oral presentations to written reports. To cater to the needs of the auditory learners, one needs to make sure that trainers include questions, have videos with audio explanations or have group discussions. Including them will help auditory learners to reap maximum benefits from the learning program.

Kinesthetic Learners: Kinesthetic learners need action. They best learn when they do it themselves. They need to move, act, do and touch to learn. They would love projects with hands-on training. They are tasks-oriented and love to experiment and explore with given tools. Role-plays, jig-saw puzzles, experiment kits or even simple worksheets would be good learning aids to cater to the needs of such learners.

Is it necessary for training managers or instructional designers to understand different learning styles?

It is important that training managers or instructional designers keep in mind that different people have different preferences with respect to learning styles. People may learn best with one particular style or might require a combination of the above learning styles. Knowing about them will enable training managers or instructional designers create content that is balanced and effective for individuals with all three learning style preferences. If training programs incorporate a combination of visual, auditory and kinesthetic media into the training program, learners will be able to capitalize on their individual strengths to assimilate the given information, therebey facilitating maximum learning. Therefore, it would be a good practice to have training managers or instructional designers understand these different learning styles before they design course content.

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