Every individual utilizes a different method for learning and remembering information. Some people learn best when listening to audio while others prefer to learn by reading, but all methods work for effective learning. Optimal learning can be defined as remembering information accurately and being able to recall it further down the line.
The value of this is not only relevant to students, but also any work environment. By comprehending information effectively, a person is able to utilize it appropriately in certain situations, such as a business environment.
If your role involves onboarding new employees in a company, it’s important to ensure all employees grasp the elements that impact workflow, productivity and customer satisfaction. To guarantee this, onboarding should incorporate all learning styles to cater for all new recruits with their different learning styles which can be auditory, visual or tactile. Auditory learners learn by hearing and listening, while a visual learner relies on reading words or looking at images to learn. A tactile learner learns best when touching or doing.
Here are a few factors to think about the next time you welcome new employees and wonder “which is better for learning, reading or listening?”
Onboarding Visual Learners
Visual learners are those who remember and retain information better by reading and looking at images. They remember better by seeing graphs, charts and diagrams and prefer to read to gather information rather than listening. A person who prefers to see directions, rather than being told the directions is a visual learner. Other attributes usually found in a person who learns better while reading, include:
- The ability to concentrate fully
- Being well organized and neat
- Excellent spelling and grammar skills
- Following written instructions rather than hearing the instructions
Always provide written guidelines when integrating new employees into the company even if you’re using an auditory approach. By incorporating this step, you will be helping both visual and auditory learners in the group.
Onboarding Auditory Learners
A person who prefers to use auditory methods for learning is someone who remembers and comprehends information by hearing and listening. The brain stores information better based on the way something sounds. An auditory learner will understand and retain information better when it’s explained to them verbally.
An auditory learner prefers to read out loud when they’re studying and will even start to hum while learning. They prefer listening to instructions rather than being told to read them. Some typical characteristics of a person who learns better while listening include:
- Losing concentration quickly
- Enjoying music
- Talking all the time
- Talking to themselves
- Being a good communicator
To cater for auditory learners, it’s a good idea to incorporate videos and PowerPoint slides with accompanying voice or music during contact sessions with new employees. This way, the new employee can engage and absorb information through listening while making use of visual input if they want to.
Onboarding Tactile Learners
A typical tactile learner is often referred to as a “hands-on” person. They like to learn through practical techniques. In other words, by working with their hands or through physical action or movement, they learn more effectively. A tactile learner will retain information better when they’re drawing, building with their hands or doing some sort of physical activity while also listening to facts or reading content.
A typical tactile learner is someone who can’t sit still for long. They need to take frequent breaks during activities or workshop sessions so they can retain focus for longer. If you notice a new employee likes to gesticulate with their hands during a conversation, you’re likely working with a tactile learner. Remember, this isn’t a negative trait. It simply means that to ensure your new recruit has the best chance at success in the new position, you may need to adjust the onboarding process to accommodate them. A typical tactile learner could have the following characteristics:
- Very well coordinated
- Has good athletic skills
- Remember things being done better than hearing or seeing information
- Communicate through touching
- Express encouragement through physical actions such as patting on the back
Tactile learners are often referred to as kinesthetic learners. To help integrate this kind of learner into the work environment during the onboarding process, find ways of bringing in tactile experiences, even if it’s practically filling out forms relevant to the company’s workflows. Remember to also give frequent breaks during training and workshops.
Can a Person Have a Mixed Learning Style?
A multi-modal learner is someone who has a combination of the attributes and characteristics mentioned above. They’re able to learn using a multiple learning approach. In fact, studies reveal up to 70% of people have this learning style. By incorporating the multiple learning style throughout the onboarding process, you’ll be assisting each new employee to integrate more effectively into their new workplace.
The multiple learning process is simply another learning style to include in the onboarding process. However, in most cases, it’s advisable to use only one or two of the learning styles such as listening and reading to convey basic information. Most people can improve on their learning style and do so throughout their lives, so you can even develop your team by helping them learn new skills.
From these summaries one can see that all learning styles carry benefits for the employee as well as the manager or HR department. Being aware of different learning styles will help you design an onboarding process that suits all new employees. By doing this, you’re helping new employees integrate into a new workplace and become a valuable member of the team. This is to everyone’s benefit since the employee can perform well while leadership benefits from higher productivity.