Different Learners, Different Styles: How Versatility in Learning Strategies Can Maximize Profit
When it comes to learning, we all do it a little differently. Even the best content provided by the best instructor can be lost on segments of the audience if it’s all presented in the same way. This is because of the way people digest knowledge. When trying to optimize audience reception and response, a little versatility can go a long way. While everyone’s got their own unique flavor in regards to how they process information, there are distinct learning style categories into which most people can be grouped.
For associations, offering different educational opportunities, like events and activities, professional development courses, and presentations, can satisfy each of the different learning styles. Furthermore, when creating events, continuing education courses and presentations, each of these categories should be explored. By catering to your entire audience, the content will be more enriching and returns maximized. In addition to increased and engaged participants, appealing to distinct learning styles can lead to more purchases, stronger advertising and sponsorship deals, and member satisfaction.
Understand the Differences
Also called spatial learning, visual learning is achieved through sight and observation. Without pictures or diagrams to help them, these types of learners may visualize materials to best understand them. For that reason, they may need additional time to process and digest what they hear.
Auditory learners best process information through sound and speech, such as lectures and reading information aloud. These types of learners often possess strong memory techniques, communication skills, and participation efforts.
As tactile learners, kinesthetic-styled students process information best through physical engagement. They digest information through practical training and muscle memory, whereas long stretches of inactivity can lead them to tune out.
Overlapping slightly with visual learners, reading and writing learners digest information through the written word. During lectures or verbal presentations, these students may need additional time to write down the information they hear.
How to Integrate into Events
The primary goals for event holders include attracting as many attendees as possible and ensuring those attendees return in the future. The best way to accomplish this is to design events catered to a diverse audience and provide them with content that they can process and appreciate.
For best results, design activities and find speakers that include all learning styles. It might also be beneficial to split activities and speakers up by learning style, ensuring that every attendee gets something from the material. With such active engagement from all attendees, event-holders can improve sponsorship value, member appreciation, and the chances that attendees become returnees in the future.
- Visual and Auditory Activities
On the one hand, visual learners find value in events with visual-aided presentations or live demonstrations. Auditory learners, on the other hand, might enjoy from a Q&A session or a roundtable discussion. Both visual and auditory learners may benefit from gaining access to recordings of these presentations, demonstrations, and discussions.
- Kinesthetic and Reading/Writing Activities
To accommodate kinesthetic learners, event holders may host workshops or walkthroughs that attendees can participate in. If they go home with a free trial, these hands-on learners can continue their engagement beyond the confines of the event. Learners who process best from reading and writing can benefit from many of the activities above, but they may also appreciate a take-home booklet or email with notes from the event, additional information, or a record of the discussions.
How to Integrate into Presentations
On their own or as part of a larger whole, quality presentations can add significant value to an event. They can also make a memorable experience for attendees and generate advertising and sponsorship opportunities. To get the most from a presentation, however, presenters should create meaningful connections with each of the different learning styles. This can be done in a number of ways, but the following tips might lead to more consistency.
- Visual Presentations
Since most presentations already appeal to visual and auditory learners, presenters don’t need to reinvent the wheel here, though they can make some small tweaks to enhance the effect. Powerpoint-type presentation still work effectively, but be sure to include charts and graphs for the visual folks. Also, try mind-maps and creating visualization-friendly examples and scenarios. When presenting, be sure to pause and give time for these visualizations to take hold.
- Auditory Presentations
With the advent of live streaming and applications like Google slides, presenters can now host live Q&A sessions during their presentation. This active participation can benefit all types of learning styles, specifically the auditory and reading and writing groups. Auditory learners might also appreciate a repeat-after-me section.
- Kinesthetic Presentations
For kinesthetic learners, a physical activity or participation element can work wonders. Presenters may involve movement or a component that utilizes something most attendees have access to, like a smartphone. A small group activity is enough to get the blood and the creative juices flowing for this segment of the audience.
- Take-Home Value
Another useful means for adding value to a presentation is to add a learning-style specific take-home component. Access to a recording of the presentation works for both visual and auditory learners, whereas a quiz or a fill-in-the-blanks section helps the kinesthetics and a written overview or transcript reaches the reading and writing crowd. Furthermore, by adding an effective take-home element or the rewatchability of a presentation, presentations extend the value of an attached sponsorship or advertising.
How to Integrate into Continuing Education
Preparing a course that satisfies each of the learning styles can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Associations can choose to create content that appeals to various learning styles or offer different options for different learners. Either way, the versatility should lead to more members enrolling in courses, more successful outcomes, and improved membership value.
- Visual and Auditory Courses
Many online courses today are designed for visual and auditory learners. Associations often design lessons with visual and aural aids, like verbal lectures and presentation-style courses with pictures, charts, and diagrams to help drive home facts and information. For video courses, content designers can break up large chunks of verbal or written information with animations or live-action scenarios. Instructors may choose to speak or lecture over rolling videos to capture the attention of both visual and auditory learners and help them process information.
- Kinesthetic Courses
Some of the latest and greatest continuing education advances have come in the field of kinesthetic learning. To appeal to these types of learners, courses now offer interactive scenario-based training in which students can apply their knowledge directly. Courses may also include simulations or practical demonstrations as a learning aid. Training may include more traditional lab participation or explore gamification as a modern way of reaching learners and getting them involved.
- Reading/Writing Courses
While large chunks of written content can be off-putting for some learners, reading- and writing-styled learners process information best this way. To accommodate these learners without sacrificing the content for other participants, courses can allow students to access a transcript of the course materials or a written overview. Video lessons might include closed caption options and the course could include a fill-in-the-blanks quiz.