Have you ever thought about the different ways people learn? Have you ever noticed that you can teach the same thing in the same way to different people and some understand and others seem confused?
If you are conscious of the ways you learn and the way others learn, it will help enhance communication and increase the effectiveness of transferring skills and knowledge to others. Could you or your company benefit from more effective training of others? If so, read on.
Although it could be expanded on even further, there are three basic ways people learn.
- Visual (seeing)
- Auditory (hearing)
- Kinesthetic (doing)
A visual learner learns best by:
- Taking notes and making lists to read later on
- Reading information to be learned
- Learning from books, videotapes, CD’s and printouts
- Seeing a demonstration
- Seeing all the study materials
The auditory learner learns best by:
- Talking aloud
- Listening to a lecture
- Discussing in small or large groups
- Hearing music without words as a background in the learning environment
- Hearing all material clearly
A kinesthetic learner learns best by:
- Doing, hands-on approach (manipulations, objects, simulations, live events)
- Physical involvement in learning
- Field trips to gain knowledge
- Small group discussions (2-3 in a group)
- Doing hands-on what is in the manual
There is no right or wrong way to learn and most of us have a primary and secondary preference to learning. The key factor is to understand the three different learning styles and make sure that you cater what you are teaching to the learning needs of the audience.
If teaching a group, it is best to incorporate all three learning styles to have the most effective training program. If you are teaching your staff how to use the new phone system, you will want to have an instruction manual and demonstration (visual learner), clear lecture & small group discussion (auditory learner), and hands-on use of the phone system (kinesthetic learner). Your training curriculum would include an instruction manual to review prior to the training, a clear lecture with demonstration in training and then the opportunity to have hands-on practice using the new phone system. This would be an effective training program to enhance the learning of all your participants.
We all have a tendency to teach in our own preferred style of learning. Next time you teach someone else, make sure you are meeting their learning style needs. By using the guidelines provided and making sure you incorporate the needs of each learning style, you will see the difference of how quickly others are able to learn when their needs are being met.
At the end of each semester, the Profit Club does a brainstorming session and shares the lessons learned. This semester was twelve 4th and 5th graders, 8 boys and 4 girls. They never cease to amaze me how much they learn and apply what I teach them. I could not help but share the things they documented on the dry erase board during our classroom meeting time. Captured in their words:
What have you learned from working at the profit club store?
- Making money
- How to sell
- Giving change
- Got a lot of business
- You have to be nice to everyone even those people you may not like and normally would not even talk to.
- Customers can be brats and they spelled it BRatz. Basically, saying the customer can really be a pain and you have to be nice to them anyway.
- “The early bird gets the worm” – they quickly learned that if you are late for your work shift, the person who is at school early can take your place. Working the store for 20 minutes before school was their favorite part. A lesson for all of us that hands-on experience is the best way to learn and apply the objectives of the class.
- Good customer service
A great list for fourth and fifth graders running a profit club store selling healthy snacks 20 minutes a day before school. They were open 25 days, 20 minutes a day. The results: $402.79 profit deposited in their account to use toward helping others. They definitely met their objectives of learning about pricing, picking products to sell, and helping others “being a prophet” to donate to missions.
One of the services offered by my business is customer satisfaction surveys. I’ve worked with several clients to design, develop and implement surveys geared around questions that they are seeking the answer to in or in order to improve the business performance. I’ve designed surveys that are short and some that are very lengthy. No matter the length of the survey or the details of information gathered, there is one question that must be answered by the customer. All the information gathered is important and must be used to drive improvements. However, the most important question by far to ask your customer is “how likely are you to recommend (insert your company)”? The responses to this question should drive the initiatives of the company to improve upon the products and/or services being provided. When the responses to this question are anything other than highly likely, finding out “why not” is essential. The answers to why customers would not highly recommend your company provides an opportunity to improve upon the performance gap of the business. Acting upon and resolving the key issues identified by customers will drive the key initiatives to improve your business performance.
At one time or another, we have all heard the saying that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.Recently, I found out for myself. I purchased a bushel of red delicious apples from the Farmers Market. There were seventy-two apples in the bushel. The bushel was left intact in the garage for two days.Upon unpacking the apples, I had 57 great apples, 8 slightly bruised apples, and 8 rotten apples to betossed out. Of course, I started thinking about what would have happened if the apples were un-packedin a timely manner. Could I have saved some by immediately disposing of the rotten ones? How manywere ruined just because they were next to or touching a rotten one? What is the valuablemanagement lesson here?
1. The Pareto Principle also known as the 80/20 rule applies once again. The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, sparsity-of-effects principle) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Who are the 20%
rotten apples on your team?
2. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today – odds can be increased by acting immediately. Two days wait, cost me eight. Do you think waiting longer would have cost me more? Who are you waiting to address a performance issue with that continues to impact other team members in a negative way?
3. You can save some by tossing out the rotten one’s early. Ever notice how your good apples shine when the rotten ones are gone? Have you ever thought of the valuable team members you lost because of not addressing the rotten ones sooner or not at all?
4. The eight slightly bruised were almost perfect. By concentrating on their perfect part, and downplaying the one little imperfection, my perfect apples increased to 90%. For those eight apples, we ate them first enjoying the part that was perfect and delicious. How many times have you concentrated on the small imperfection of a team member without utilizing their numerous strengths and good parts? Do you concentrate on the good?
Don’t let the rotten apples spoil the others. Address issues immediately to avoid the loss of others. Find the good in those that are slightly bruised. Enjoy your harvest.
I had the privilege of teaching and leading a group of twelve boys in 4th and 5th grade in the first semester of the school year. They go to a private Christian school and they have the option to select a club as an elective class held twice a month for 40 minutes. They can choose from a variety of clubs – Fitness, Robotics, Technology, Crafts, Profit, Drama, and Chorus. The boys and girls pick the club that interests them and they participate for a whole semester. It is a wonderful way to provide them with an alternate way to learn and apply what they are learning. The group leaders are parents or teachers that volunteer their time to share their passion and expertise.
The Profit Club gives me the opportunity to teach business skills to these young students. Each semester, we start with the basics. They transform their desks into a conference table and the classroom becomes a conference room. The ruler becomes a talking stick and they must have the ruler to speak and avoid two people talking at once. They learn to have an agenda or they do not have a meeting. Brainstorming becomes their favorite agenda item. Presenting their ideas back to the decision maker (school Principal) is a welcomed task. They know the objectives of the club before they select which one to join and we go over them at each meeting. The objective of the profit club is to:
- Learn about Pricing
- Pick a product or service
- Help others – “Be a Prophet” – donate to missions
Of course, they learned a whole lot more and I think I learned as much as them or possibly more. This past semester consisted of 6 total 40 minute meetings and them running a school store that sold healthy snacks. They were open for 27 days for 20 minutes before school. They invested 5.4 hours of time and made a profit.
Recently Yahoo CEO announced free lunches for employees to help boost morale. A great idea and change to show people they are appreciated. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
A great example of treating each person with dignity and respect. Every life really does have a story.