Different learning styles: How to choose the right training format?

The best way to integrate new knowledge and to put what you’re learnt into practice, is to appeal to as much of your senses as possible. Classroom courses and expert trainers make sure to integrate different learning styles to their teaching skills. Let’s see in the examples below which ones are the recognized learning styles, and how a trainer can make sure to integrate them into a training class of Project Management:

  • Auditory learning: learning through listening and hearing. The expert trainer explains the matter, focusing on the most important parts of the Project Management methodology, highlighting tools and techniques.
  • Visual learning: in order to better understand the ideas and concepts, drawings on flip charts can be an important tool to integrate new information. If we take the example of a PRINCE2 training, imagine what impact could have a drawing that explains you the difference between outputs, business change, outcomes and benefits. A picture says more then a thousand words. In some cases, you will even see that these drawings are put on the walls in the training room and are continuously used by the trainer when he/she comes back to this topic.
  • Kinesthetic learning: this is what we call “learning by doing”. Classrooms are ideal places to exercise on how to put the theory into practice. Let’s take the example of an AgilePM training: an important tool is the PRL (Prioritized Requirements List). What better way to understand how to create this list then to do this in group during the course? It’s a first-hand experience that will help you to put it into practice when you’re back in the office.

Knowing the existence of different learning styles, why is a classroom course the best option to learn?

1) The Trainer as Subject Matter Expert

In front of you, there’s a person who’s an expert on the new skills you want to acquire. He/she has real life experience and is able to give practical examples and answer your questions on the spot. There’s also room to tackle subjects and questions outside of the standard context of the course which will enable you to link it immediately to your own working environment.

2) Sharing Experiences and Social Interaction

Each of the participants in the course have their backpack filled with experiences from the past. Some are good, other are bad experiences and both are valuable. By sharing those experiences, everybody in the room can learn from those real life examples (even the trainer!). They add an extra dimension to what we’ve just learned and see the link with real life.

3) Expert Trainers Who Make the Learning Experience Engaging and Interesting

There’s a good reason why someone is moderating the training. Trainers we are there to help you understand the subject and are able to correct you so that you’re getting it right by the end of the course. Trainers are the glue between the subject and all of the participants and will engage everyone so that it becomes a highly valuable experience. The trainer is also able to instantly adapt the learning experience to the needs of the delegates so that it becomes personalized for each individual.

4) Quiet, Dedicated Time Out of the Office to Really Focus on Your Needs

Most of us have a very demanding job with people constantly coming into our office or calling us with, as always, very urgent and critical questions or tasks. This is not the ideal environment to study, learn and develop new skills. Even at home, with the kids or the partner running around the house, you’re not in a good environment to get the most out of a training. A classroom training offers you the possibility to take a distance from home and work so that you can deep dive into something new. You can focus on only one thing which will improve the integration of the skills so that you can put it into practice more quickly.

Our trainer and consultant David Maegerman wrote an article about the different learning styles, the reasons why a classroom course has several advantages, and the difference with a distance-online-learning training. Want to have a soft copy of the full article? Follow this link for the free download.