President Of TrainSmart, Inc.
The Myth Of Adult Learning Styles
It’s been called a neuromyth – the belief that students learn better when training includes activities in their preferred learning style – visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Many Instructional designers and facilitators believe the neuromyth because there’s been a ton of research saying developing training in an adult’s preferred learning style helps increase comprehension and retention of information.
However, other experts are quick to point out that the research is flawed and has not used a methodology capable of testing the validity of this theory.
Why it Matters
While the research may not prove that students learn better if training includes their learning preference, we do know they will enjoy it more. And that’s important. It provides a great opportunity for designers to create training programs with activities that appeal to all adult learning styles.
When designing a training program, many people follow the Golden Rule: Train others as I want to be trained. They believe that if they enjoy the training approach, the participants will also. Unfortunately, this usually means focusing almost exclusively on activities that appeal to the designers’ learning style.
A better guide is the Platinum Rule: Train others as they want to be trained.
For many, this may require stretching. A visual learner may think it’s great to have participants draw a concept of what they’ve learned. And that’s effective for people who can draw. However, many others are embarrassed to share their stick figure drawings, and the idea of sharing their drawing creates anxiety. Instead of having everyone draw, a more robust activity is to give learners a choice:
- Have them do a concept drawing.
- Write a summary statement.
- Share a picture that captures their learning experience.
Designing Inclusive Training Programs
Ditch The One-Size-Fits-All Approach
One size does not fit all.
To create a potential list of activities that appeal to each learning style, run separate searches for each style: Start with visual learners. Try searching “creative activities for adult visual learners.”
Then repeat the search for auditory and kinesthetic learners.
By the end of your search, you should have a comprehensive list of activities that can spark your imagination.
A great source for idea generation is Canva: It offers 25 ideas ranging from bringing historical characters to life to predicting what we’re learning next.
Provide Participant Choices
While the validity of learning styles as a neuromyth may be debated, it is still essential for instructional designers and trainers to create training programs that cater to different learning preferences. By doing so, trainers can ensure that all learners are engaged, motivated, and enjoying the learning experience.
Following the Platinum Rule, “Train others as they want to be trained,” is key to creating effective training programs. By providing learners with a range of activities that appeal to different learning styles, trainers can maximize their chances of success and create a positive learning environment.
Therefore, I urge all trainers to take the time to explore various activities, modalities, and teaching techniques that cater to different learning styles. By doing so, trainers can create engaging and effective training programs that benefit all learners, regardless of their preferred learning style.
So, let’s take action today and start designing training programs that cater to different learning styles. With a little creativity, we can create training experiences that are both enjoyable and effective for all learners.
Attend A TrainSMART 3-Day Train-the-Trainer Course
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By participating in this workshop, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and skills that will help you design, deliver, and facilitate training sessions that meet the needs of your audience. You’ll learn how to create an effective learning environment, use interactive training techniques, and deliver presentations that captivate your audience.
So what are you waiting for? Register now for TrainSMART’s Train-the-Trainer workshop and take the first step towards becoming a top-notch trainer. You’ll leave the workshop with the skills and confidence you need to take your training career to the next level. Don’t miss this opportunity – register today!