Why workplace training should be tailored to accommodate learning styles
August 8th 2023 | Posted by Phil Scott
An efficient and effective learning and development programme is essential to the success of an organisation.
Senior HR professionals play a vital role in assuring that the programme the business adopts is fit for purpose.
Part of this role is tailoring content to ensure that it’s presented in the most effective way to enable learning goals to be met. This optimises the success of learning initiatives and promotes higher performance levels within the organisation.
Why is tailoring training so important?
Teaching and training an individual in a way that best suits their personal learning style makes it more likely that they will engage with the process. This in turn means that they will be more able to put what they have learned into practice which is beneficial to both the business and the individual.
The VARK method states that there are four main styles of learning, visual, auditory, read/write, and kinaesthetic. There is some overlap in these styles with many individuals learning best through a combination of different methods.
Examining the learning styles that employees have?
Understanding the different learning styles individuals have makes it easier for HR professionals to recognise them in employees within their organisation.
Visual learners develop an understanding by watching tasks being completed before undertaking the work themselves. They respond well to visual training materials such as instructional videos, photographs, flow charts, and diagrams.
Signs that a person may be a visual learner include:
- Highly creative
- Can be distracted by the environment if it’s visually pleasing to them
- Takes notes to retain information
- Enjoys using visual tools such as mind maps and graphs
People who have an audible learning style understand best if information is explained in a step-by-step way and a conversation is then had around this information. They also like to discuss learning material and to listen to others having related discussions. They respond well to learning methods including audio presentations, group discussions, and lectures.
Signs that a person may be an audible learner include:
- Reacts well to verbal instruction
- Has strong presentation skills
- Is easily distracted by background noise
People who have this learning style prefer to read content and then make their own notes. They are best able to digest learning material when they read it back from their own notes. Training methods and materials suited to this learning style include reading material with the facility to add personal notes.
Signs that a person may be a read/write learner include:
- Loves to read and write
- Uses categories to organise notes
Kinaesthetic learners enjoy using the five senses to learn. This involves a hand-on approach to instruction. They learn through the experience of performing tasks personally and enjoy the opportunity to take in information as part of team activities. Learning materials and methods that are best suited to this learning style include demonstrations, simulations, and group activities.
Signs that a person may be a kinaesthetic learner include:
- Finds is hard to sit still in a lecture or classroom environment
- Enjoys hands-on activities
- Is physically well-coordinated
Tailoring training to these individual learning styles helps HR professionals to optimise the effectiveness of training programmes in the organisation.