How to Train Employees Who Learn Differently

By now, most managers have established that each of their employees is unique in their personality and work style. Why should employers be surprised that their diverse, individual employees have different learning styles as well? Because employees are individuals and have different needs when it comes to effective learning and training, it’s important for managers to do everything in their power to provide opportunities for employees to be successful from day one. Employees who feel like their managers care about their professional success and development are more likely to be engaged and say with the company long term. This will reduce your overall hiring and onboarding costs.

If you’re not a training professional by trade, it might be a surprise to you that there are four major learning styles that most individuals have. Aural learners learn best by hearing the information, as opposed to reading it. Visual learners best absorb information if they can see visual representations through graphs and diagrams. Kinesthetic learners are those who have to get their hands dirty to fully understand and do well in an applied learning environment. Reading learners are pretty self-explanatory: they thrive when given an instruction manual. All four of these learning types should be considered when developing a comprehensive learning plan for employees to follow, because it’s highly likely that all four learning types are present within your company.

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The good news is that there are probably elements of each in your existing learning plans. Does your required reading for training modules have an audio companion? That’s a quick, easy way to check another learning type off your list and make it easier for your employees to show what they know. Do you have a series of graphs that will help more visual learners understand your primary objectives? Are your new hires already paired with mentors to gain hands-on experience during their first few weeks? If you’re doing any of these things already, we tip our hats to you, as you’re already beginning to create an inclusive learning environment, which will help your company attract and retain new employees and more effectively train your existing employee base.

The interesting part is this: many learners often identify two or more learning styles that work for them, and many of us have some combination of the four. This means that it’s not wise to create four different learning plans for the different types of learning, but to discern how to integrate all four types of learning into the learning plans. Think about each bit of material and make decisions about how to deliver information. When doing workplace-specific safety training, consider doing a tour of the workplace and highlight important safety risks or features that employees should be aware of. If you have online computer modules, make sure that you also provide an audio component as well as a series of visual aids.

Creating an inclusive learning management style doesn’t mean that employers are making their learning easier. The required materials don’t change, only the way they are delivered. It may seem like your employees are completing the learning materials at a faster pace because they’re being given information in a way that is easily digestible, empowering them to pass heir modules faster than if they have been given a uniform module without any visual or audio components. Conduct a quick, confidential survey of your employees to understand how they prefer to learn and consider their input when crafting new learning plans.

The most important feature of any learning management plan is the learning management system (LMS). A high-quality LMS will give your managers and employees the tools they need to complete and record their learning plans, as well as view their progress. The LMS you choose for your company should give you options to customize your workforce’s learning plans to best meet their needs.

The BirdDogHR LMS is customizable, allowing both employees and managers the ability to complete modules, log training hours and track progress. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a demo.

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