If you consider the public education system, a great deal of it is couched in the students’ ability to process written information, understand it, and then either apply it or mentally reference it when needed. Without trying making any critical judgment on the public education system as a whole, this tradition presents a difficult task for those students who have a harder time learning that way.
This same dilemma exists beyond the classroom; businesses, seminars, and conferences will still present the information in travelguidebook such a way that only benefits a portion of the audience. And while it’s difficult – if not impossible – to be able to tailor a presentation to each and every participant, keeping in mind different learning styles can help reach more people.
Visual Learners (about 65 percent of the population) are those who often did well in a traditional learning environment. By seeing charts and graphs, taking notes, and reading the material they were able to fully comprehend the concept being discussed. They may learn well from informational films, pictures, and written instructions. They may copy verbatim what’s on the chalkboard or PowerPoint, and then make flashcards of what they need to remember, in order fully process the information.
Auditory Learners (about 25 percent of the population) enjoy lectures – or at least learn best through them. You may see them not taking any notes, but yet there are able to remember a lot of details about what was taught. Part of this has to do with memory (which isn’t automatically better with auditory learners) but it’s mostly because as they hear the information they’re able to effectively process it. In those lecture-heavy classroom settings, these students likely did well and were able to pay attention, while the visual learners (especially if there was no PowerPoint) struggled. They may use a lot of word association to remember facts, or may close their eyes when trying to remember something.
Kinesthetic Learners (about 10 percent of the population) likely struggled the most in a traditional school setting. Needing to get up and try it out for themselves before fully grasping a concept. If presenting an active task, you may see a kinesthetic learner mimicking your actions as you go. They likely enjoy learning activities – science experiments, field trips, etc. – and may go into a field that requires such skills – mechanic, actor, firefighter, etc.
It certainly isn’t easy, but if it’s your job to teach a group of people some important information, take into account that not everyone will learn much from your PowerPoint or the notes you hand out. Change it up a bit and not only will you help more people, but you’ll likely make the whole process more interesting.
Scott Spjut is a writer and editor who has been featured in various magazines, newspapers and websites, including Newsweek, the Washington Post, CBS News and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. With a B.A. in Communications, he continues to write on a wealth of topics – politics, health and fitness, business, marketing and more. Scott currently works with Professional Marketing International [http://professionalmarketinginternational.net] helping people change their lives.