Incorporating the 4 Learning Methods into Instructional Design

Regarding education and training, no two learners are exactly alike. One way that many learners differ from others is their preferred learning style. Some learners take in information and gain a better understanding by using a specific modality. As a result, instructional designers need to take that into account, ensuring any resulting coursework meets the needs of the entire learning audience. Generally, four primary learning methods are worth incorporating. Here’s an overview of each and how to integrate them into the learning experience.

1. Visual

Visual learners have an easier time absorbing information when it’s presented visually. The imagery helps them understand various topics more quickly, often by making concepts less abstract or requiring them to rely on their imaginations. Typically, visual learning includes photographs, graphics, diagrams, charts, maps, and videos. While the text is technically a visual component, it isn’t part of this broader category. Generally, integrating visual learning into training or other coursework is straightforward. Simply including relevant pictures is a simple starting point. Options like infographics can help, as it helps provide context for any of the contained text. Videos are often ideal for demonstrating anything with a procedural component, as they can show precisely how something is done.

2. Auditory

Auditory learners – also called aural learners – do best when information is shared with them verbally. Listening to explanations and descriptions makes them more easily understand the topic or concept compared to visually-oriented approaches, such as images or text. As with visual learning, auditory components can come in several forms. Purely acoustic options like podcasts or lectures are prime examples. Adding verbal descriptions or voice-over explanations in videos is similarly helpful.

3. Read/Write

Read/write learners favor text-based information delivery. Often, this is the simplest modality to incorporate, as options like traditional textbooks, word-oriented presentations, and articles are all preferred by this group. You can also incorporate reading into other training approaches. For example, having subtitles on videos or closed captioning for lectures lets the learner read along, which gives them an improved experience over auditory methods alone. Transcripts of speeches are another option for post-experience review-based learning. In many cases, read/write learners also take in information well when taking notes about what’s shared. As a result, having a mechanism that allows them to take notes when any instruction is mainly auditory, visual, or kinesthetic can promote better understanding and knowledge retention. Message boards and similar word-based discussions are similarly effective. Those involve reading and writing, so they play into the strengths of read/write learners.

4. Kinesthetic

Kinesthetic learners typically do best when they can actively engage in activities while learning new concepts. Often, lab-style in-person instruction is best for learners in this category. However, integrating puzzles, interactive scenarios, and similar tools into online courses can have a similar impact, as they provide the needed level of interaction and engagement. At Clarity, we have 30 years of experience in L&D, giving us the knowledge and expertise to provide support and guidance to help you incorporate all learning methods. Clarity can be your candidate search ally if you’re trying to expand your internal L&D team, connecting you with top talent when needed.    

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