Training programs are meant to help people learn new things and yet, we often find that not everyone changes their way of functioning following the training. The answer to this can be found in Kolb’s learning theory that stresses that people learn in four unique ways. So, unless you have a program that appeals to every individual’s learning style, you are unlikely to see an improvement in performance. Although too much customization may be difficult with large groups, it is certainly possible to use different techniques of delivery to drive home the moot points of your training.
The Four Learning Styles Described By Kolb Include:
- Diverging learning style: People with this style seek an answer to the question “Why” They prefer to collect information, look at a given situation from different angles and generate new ideas to tackle it. Such persons benefit best from training in which the trainer acts a motivator and encourages brainstorming and an exchange of views.
- Assimilating learning style: People with this learning style thrive on logic and precision and seek answers to the question “What” They learn best when exposed to a lot of information delivered by a subject expert in a systematic way as in a lecture session, with time to think about what they have learned.
- Converging learning style: Persons with a converging style are more concerned with the question of “How” and like finding practical solutions to problems. Training programs in which the facilitator allows them to experiment hands-on with a technical problem and then gives them feedback work best with such people.
- Accommodating learning style: Those who have an accommodating style seem to be asking “What if” and listen to their intuition rather than logic to solve problems. Such people rely only on their gut feeling when it comes to taking decisions and learn best when left alone to find things out for themselves.
Consider this as a blueprint for a successful training program that caters to the learning styles of different people. Explain “why” the topic is relevant, present ideas on “what” are the important points, allow practice on “how” to do things and encourage thinking on “what if.”
With such a customized approach using the Kolb model of learning styles, you are sure to find people respond better when it comes to putting what they learn into practice.