Understanding learning styles is an important component to any training program. For our purposes, we will utilize a widely accepted learning style model. Recent research has shown that classifying people into learning styles may not be the best way to determine a style, and most people have a different style depending on the information being taught. In a study by Pashler et al., 1 the authors look at aptitude and personality as key traits when learning, as opposed to classifying people into categories of learning styles. Bearing this in mind, we will address a common approach to learning styles next.
An effective trainer tries to develop training to meet the three different learning styles: 2
- Visual learner. A visual learner usually has a clear “picture” of an experience. A visual learner often says things such as “I can see what you are saying” or “This looks good.” A visual learner is best reached using graphics, pictures, and figures.
- Auditory learner. An auditory learner learns by sound. An auditory learner might say, “If I hear you right” or “What do you hear about this situation?” The auditory learner will learn by listening to a lecture or to someone explaining how to do something.
- Kinesthetic learner. A kinesthetic learner learns by developing feelings toward an experience. These types of learners tend to learn by doing rather than listening or seeing someone else do it. This type of learner will often say things such as “This feels right.”
Most individuals use more than one type of learning style, depending on what kinds of information they are processing. For example, in class you might be a visual learner, but when learning how to change a tire, you might be a kinesthetic learner.