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One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes To Learning Styles

Learning Styles, Multiple Intelligences, Communication Styles, Generational Learning, International Differences in Learning; how on earth can we train to all of those requirements and ensure that everyone stays focused and interested in learning?

There is no “one size fits all” for learning so there shouldn’t be a “one size fits all” for training. Many trainers teach in the way they prefer to learn. If you are a data driven learner, you will most likely pack lots of data into ILT (Instructor Led Training) and Blended Learning.   If you are a visual learner, you will most likely focus on exciting PowerPoint slides, animation and pictures. If you are a hands-on learner you will naturally incorporate activities.

Ultimately, our brains are designed to take in information in a variety of ways and then process in the way that is most comfortable for us. The key to effectively engage your audience and provide them a balanced learning experience is to provide a mixture of training techniques. Some points to consider:

  1. Provide general concepts and hard facts
  2. Incorporate visual interest with PowerPoint, Demonstrations and using Flip Charts
  3. Provide the big picture and then drill down the detail in a structured, methodical way
  4. Allow time for large and small group discussion
  5. Integrate experiential learning and practice opportunities
  6. Facilitate a summary of concepts and how to apply new skills
  7. Select methods based on the best way to teach specific topics. Training on communication skills requires different techniques than training technology for example.

Understanding the various learning styles is helpful, but most important is to make sure that you are mixing up the methods that you use. How do you prefer to learn? What are the challenges you have training to other styles?

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Anne P. Harlow is a creative, results driven professional with an eclectic background in leadership, consulting, training, sales and marketing, instructional design and technology. With proven success in managing people, budgets and projects; analyzing and managing business processes and change; assessing, developing and deploying skills improvement programs; a passion for working with people and making a difference; and a solid understanding of business processes, she is able to assist organizations maximize their most important resource: PEOPLE!