Are your training programmes a hit with every single one of your employees?
As L&D professionals, we want our training to be useful and effective for all our learners, but it’s not always easy to deliver courses that everyone will like due to the range of learning styles and preferences present within every team.
For L&D teams, these different learning styles can become a barrier to achieving high course satisfaction and completion rates. So, how do you overcome these challenges? It’s well worth L&D teams investing the time to research and understand how employees best learn and retain information to increase the effectiveness of your training programmes.
In this article, we unpack three learning models and provide tips on how to use these models to deploy training your employees will actually learn from. With our help, you’ll discover what powers the learning process and understand what the best course formats are for multiple learning styles, enabling you to design great courses that all your employees love.
First up, Kolb’s learning model.
The Kolb learning model was developed by David Kolb, an American educational theorist known for his extensive work in experiential learning. Kolb introduced the learning styles model in 1984 as an extension of his previous work, the experiential learning cycle.
Kolb's learning model views learning as an integrated process that progresses through four mutually-supportive stages:
The second part of Kolb’s theory highlights the different styles learners have. To build an effective training programme, you need to factor in all the learning styles to customise the approach and harness each learner's strengths. Let’s take a closer look at what these four learning styles are, and what they mean for your training programmes.
Learners who are convergers are inclined towards thinking and doing—these people shine at the fourth learning cycle stage, active experimentation, as they are great at experimenting with ideas.
When it comes to designing your training programmes with these types of learners in mind, be sure to focus on the practical experience. Include practical tasks like quizzes, role-playing and workshops with breakout sessions where learners can tackle problems in a collaborative way.
Accommodators are intuitive and prefer relying on their instincts rather than their logic. These learners take in other people's analysis and will therefore rely on information from others rather than make their own analysis. Similarly to the converging style, you can use a collaborative approach to learning as this will engage these types of learners. Focus on group tasks and project assignments where there is involvement from multiple people.
Divergers are the creative types, best at generating their own ideas to solve problems. Divergers are most suited to self-directed learning, as this type of style is flexible and puts them in the driving seat. They also prefer instructional styles that allow them to apply the acquired knowledge to solve real-life situations.
In addition, divergers make great subject-matter experts, so it’s important you leverage these people to promote a culture of peer learning in your organisation.
Assimilators are logical people, big on watching and thinking. They prefer facts and logically sound theories over practical approaches, and take in everything with the support of known information. Be sure to include texts that can be downloaded and easily accessed in your learning management system (LMS) so assimilators have the information to absorb more effectively.
Now you’re familiar with the basics of Kolb’s learning model, you can start to shape your learning programmes to suit these four particular learning styles. This way, you can give every one of your learners the challenge and stimulation they really crave.
Next up, the VARK learning model.
The VARK learning model supports learners' diverse preferences. An acronym for; V – Visual, A – Aural, R – Read/write, K – Kinaesthetic sensory modalities, the model suggests that some learners take in new information through a single one of these preferences, whereas others rely on a mix of these four learning preferences.
According to studies, 34% of people have single preferences (also called type two learners), while 66% have multimodal preferences (known as type one learners—people who can switch between the four learning models depending on the situation). This information is key for L&D teams in understanding the pace at which learning can take place and the need to have variety in the way you present your course content.
Here’s how you can accommodate the four VARK model learner preferences as part of your training.
The VARK model aligns nicely with the notion of asynchronous vs. synchronous learning, the term we at 360Learning use to describe the next phase of blended learning.
Asynchronous learning favours written information and communication, as well as self-directed and self-paced learning through online courses, company wikis, and pre-recorded webinars. Synchronous learning, on the other hand, describes learning through human interactions such as live video discussions and workshops with breakout rooms.
These two types of learning formats satisfy all four VARK learning modalities so L&D teams should consider incorporating them into training programmes.
Last but not least, the third learning model we will explore is Hermann brain dominance.
The Hermann brain dominance model offers a way to get the best learning results out of cognitively diverse learners. It categorises learners into four types – theorists (analytical), organisers (sequential), humanitarians (interpersonal), and innovators (imaginative). Here’s what you need to consider as part of your training, in accordance with the Hermann brain dominance model.
We have broadly mentioned the collaborative aspects of learning throughout this article–but the concept of Collaborative Learning runs deeper. Rooted in the spirit of employees taking control of their own learning experiences and identifying their own needs, the Collaborative Learning model incorporates many of the aspects of the three models described in this article, including:
L&D teams can promote a company culture based on Collaborative Learning by encouraging knowledge sharing, decentralising the learning process, and making it easier for people to take control of their own learning. A Collaborative Learning platform can help you apply all of these techniques.
Ready to see the Collective Learning model in action? Get in touch with one of our experts today to learn more.