Different Learning Modalities and Styles


Think back to your school days. When you sat in a classroom and heard your instructor teaching, do you remember learning or do you remember your mind drifting? For me, sitting in a lecture-only class, can be interesting for the moment, but then I do not remember much afterwards. My husband, on the other hand, remembers most of it.

It is really amazing how different we all are when it comes to how we learn. Learning styles are how we receive, send and store information. According to many researchers in an average class or learning session, we would have the following breakout:

25%-30% Visual – learn by what they see
25%-30% Auditory – learn by what they hear/discuss
15% Tactile/Kinesthetic – learn by touching/feeling/movement
25%-30% Mixed

In a training session (online or on-site) with approximately 10 participants, we can expect about the same percentages. Obviously, with smaller groups in a defined industry, we may end up with more in one of the learning styles. As the trainer, it is important to think about how you can structure the learning styles to reach the most participants. Conducting training online requires even more thought and preparation to be able to reach students in each learning style.

What other issues affect the decision of modality for a training session(s) besides learning styles and audience size? We also have to think about the content and the skill level of the participants. Another big hurdle could be how soon the skills/concepts learned in the training needed to be implemented. If the participant is going to have a gap in between learning and implementation, an online review module might be appropriate.

So, if you are the person in charge of setting up training or conducting training, it is essential that you think about each of these factors to determine what type of modality is best. At our organization, we offer on-site, online, and deskside training to meet a wide variety of needs. Contact me to help you assess the best modality for your learners!

Angela Nino - Versitas Editor

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