Achieve better learning outcomes: Adapting your teaching style to individual learning styles

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When training or developing staff, there are various learning styles to identify and understand in order create a motivated, collegiate learning environment. Learners tend to have a preference on how they would like to receive information – by reading, hearing or doing – and below are two models used to define these.

  1. The VARK model separates learners into 4 styles: Visual (visual aids such as diagrams), Auditory (hearing or reciting back, lectures), Reading/Writing (text, such as books, online reading) and Kinaesthetic (practical, hands on). When training the team, it is important to have a range of activities that cover all these learning styles, so as not to alienate a learner.
  • Visual learners need a highly visual presentation with graphics
  • Auditory learners will respond well to a Q&A session, where they can recite back to you what you’ve said
  • Reading/Writing learners respond well to text/handouts which they can read along with you
  • Kinesthetic learners like role playing and learn by doing

 

  1. The Honey & Mumford questionnaire is an experiential learning model which identifies 4 different types of learner, the Activist, the Reflector, the Theorist and the Pragmatist.
  • The Activist is enthusiastic about anything new, responding well to practical, open and flexible learning programmes. As soon as the excitement from one activity has died down, they are busy looking for the next.
  • The Reflector works well with a mentor whom they can learn from alongside their research and reading, they like to absorb many different viewpoints.
  • The Theorist values theoretical and logical ideas, and is a perfectionist seeking order and reason. They can seem detached as they analyse things more deeply.
  • Pragmatists are practical, down to earth people who like making practical decisions and solving problems by experimenting with various techniques, they like the challenge of a problem.

This will ensure everyone stays engaged with training, an essential part of career development, and will keep both the learner (and the trainer) interested and fulfilled.