Different Learning Styles

Two Different Learning Styles You Probably Forgot About

Visual, Auditory, Linguistic, Logical and Kinesthetic—many people are familiar with the five main learning styles that describe how learners digest and retain information. It’s important to remember that different types of content lend themselves to different teaching and learning styles, and few things are learned in a “one and done” situation—most learners overlap in their styles. For example, they may prefer to view an infographic while listening to someone explain the information presented. Often, when information is presented repeatedly and in a variety of modes, it will engage different parts of the learner’s brain.

The Two Forgotten Learning Styles

While we all know about these learning styles, two types of learners are often forgotten: the social and solitary learner. These are not stand-alone learning styles, and they often overlap with the five previously mentioned. While the labels we’ve attached to these learners seem self-explanatory, a great deal of recognition is required to effectively tap into these styles.
Social Learning Style

The Social Learner

The Social Learner prefers learning in groups or in a class. For this type of learner, learning is enhanced through emotional attachments, connecting with others and sharing ideas. From this learner’s perspective, problem-solving is best approached as a group activity where potential solutions are shared and debated.

The Solitary Learner

Solitary LearningThe Solitary Learner is an introspective learner, often preferring to work independently to spend time analyzing the material and their approach. They prefer to work through solutions on their own, even though it may be quicker to solve in a group setting.

How Do We Satisfy Both Learning Styles in Workplace Training?

It seems that online learning will satisfy the solitary learner, since they prefer self-study, and can work through the material at their own pace, taking time to consider how the content is relevant to their role.  It’s more of a challenge to satisfy the social learner, but it’s possible. Integrating certain elements into eLearning can bring the social learner the same satisfaction.

While eLearning provides the flexibility we need, we always seem to be striving to replicate the benefits of face-to-face interactions in a traditional classroom setting.

Here are several ways we can accomplish this:

  • Reflection Boxes: Within an eLearning module, a carefully placed reflection question can draw out the learner’s thoughts, and then be shared anonymously with the participating group.satisfying different learning styles
  • Videos: Videos not only tap into most of the main learning styles, but they also offer learners the chance to get as close to a live demonstration as they possibly can.
  • Scenario-Based Learning: Using scenarios to teach and test provides a vicarious experience (read more about scenario-based learning here).
  • Mentorship & Coaching: Creating these relationships and opportunities through eLearning not only satisfies the social learner, but also allows the mentor or coach to build their leadership skills while allowing the recipient to benefit from their advice, gain wisdom and experience, and get questions answered.
  • Q & A sessions with Message Boards: Message boards allow for asynchronous social activity, and based on the evident popularity of Twitter, Reddit and specialized message boards, people are keen to participate in this type of social activity. Companies can capitalize on the features of their LMS to use forums, chat rooms, and wikis to encourage and facilitate collaboration and help connect the disengaged learner.

While not all social learning strategies work every time, using the right strategies at the right time and with the right content can take eLearning to the next level. But let’s not forget the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone. As comfortable as each type of learner may be in the solitary or social setting, it is important to encourage each to subtly step out of their comfort zone to capitalize on the best part of each type of learning style.

Are you a social or solitary learner? Let us know in the comments how you best learn.

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