Thinking and Learning Styles
People also develop thinking styles as they grow. These styles fall into four categories.
Conceptual thinkers must see the big picture before they can accept new information. Not only do they want to see the outcome, they want to know the mechanics of how things work. In addition to learning the material you present, they want to know about the related material you might have left out.
Creative thinkers often ask "why?" or "what if..." and work diligently to find answers to present and potential problems. They're excellent trouble shooters and can often take a computer program well beyond its intended use.
Practical thinkers want only the facts, without superfluous, nice-to-know information. They prefer the simplest, most effective way to successfully accomplish their work. They're not satisfied until they understand how to apply their new skills in their job.
Reflective thinkers relate new information to their past experience. Like creative thinkers, they often ask "why" and want to be actively involved in their learning. After examining their feelings about what they're learning or doing, they might also ask, "Why do I need to learn this material? I'll never use it." They also tend to be sensitive to organizational politics.
During a training event, consider the learner's thinking styles. If a participant is having difficulty with a concept, try changing your teaching style to match their thinking style. You'll also want to keep all four of these styles in mind when designing your lessons. The more thinking styles that you can address throughout the lesson, the more learners that will be influenced or reached. It's not always possible to cover all four types, but incorporate as many as possible and alternate as you move through the lessons.
There are multiple learning styles:
Generally, people learn from a combination of styles, but most people will find one learning style is most effective for them. During a training event it's important that your teaching style throughout the day to meet the needs of all types of learners. The following describes the different learning styles:
Auditory: It's heard, as in a lecture format.
Environmental: The environment (such as temperature, lightning, and noise levels) suits the learner. This type of learner will find it difficult to concentrate if they're uncomfortable
Kinesthetic: The learner can be actively engaged in manipulating data, keying along, taking notes, or participating in activities.
Visual: It's seen either in writing, on screen, or illustrated by a picture, drawing, or graphic
When presenting training to an adult audience, remember that they want to be responsible for their own learning. Don't give them solutions, let them solve problems based on information and guidance you provide in class.
Address specific needs. Provide scenarios and personal experience to help learners relate new information to familiar information. Ask questions that help them find solutions to the problems they've encountered.
Relate new information to a learner's job. The ultimate goal is for the learner to return to her/his job and immediately use the skills she/he has learned in class.