How to Account for Employee Learning Differences
It’s no secret, people all learn differently. Anyone who has ever had to teach will tell you that no single learning style suits all learners. While some may favor similar types of teaching and learning strategies, no two employees will learn the exact same way. Due to this, the training strategies that you implement within your organization need to account for varying employee learning strategies. This also means that your learning management system needs to provide options for employees to choose the way they wish to learn.
Of course, it might not be possible for you to perfectly tailor your LMS to how each and every employee learns, but there are some steps you can take to make it more accessible for a wider range of learning styles.
Find a Middle Ground
The first place to start when trying to cater your LMS to how different employees learn is to find a middle ground. The best way to do this is to use data from your learning management system to determine what learning styles the majority of your employees respond the best to. Data collected from your LMS can answer critical questions, such as what courses or modules employees are responding the best to, and which ones seem to be easier to grasp overall.
You can also try actively surveying your employees to ask them directly how they like to learn. Do they prefer text, videos, interactive quizzes, or gamification, for example? Finding a middle ground for learning is the best way to get as close as possible to meeting the learning needs of the widest range of employees.
Resort to Video
If all else fails, or if your data shows a huge variation in preferred learning styles, resort to video. The vast majority of people are visual learners, and even if they don’t prefer to learn visually, it’s still easier and more engaging for most people than reading large chunks of text, for example. There are reams of research out there that indicate about 65% of people tend to be more visually oriented when it comes to learning and will likely gravitate towards videos over other eLearning tools.
Implement Mentoring into Your Learning
Before learning management systems were so readily used, the bulk of training tended to be done by other employees, or mentors. Just because your organization uses an LMS now, doesn’t mean that mentors don’t have immense value. In fact, mentors can help employees, particularly the ones who show lower engagement levels. And many individuals respond very well to the help of others when learning. Having another employee explain something or walk them through a process might be far more beneficial than other learning techniques. Actually, learning from others is a tried and tested learning technique known as social learning, and it can be very helpful. This is particularly true for employee-to-employee mentorship, as employees understand each other’s struggles. If videos have failed to do the trick, implementing a good mentorship program and trying social learning could bolster engagement and understanding amongst trainees. Additionally, the process of teaching others can be very valuable for the mentors themselves, who will solidify their own knowledge further through the training process. Even if your employees don’t primarily prefer to learn from direct interaction with others, a good mentor certainly won’t do any harm.
Try Blended Learning
If possible, blended learning can be beneficial for some employees, particularly those who might struggle with eLearning in general. Blended learning is basically a blend of eLearning and more conventional learning techniques. Of course, you have to spend a lot of money getting your eLearning up and running, and you want all your employees to utilize it as best they can. You certainly shouldn’t waste time, money, and effort setting up traditional training only so employees can ditch your LMS. That being said, the occasional conventional learning technique, such as a seminar, can be beneficial. Many employees will respond well to a more personal approach from time to time. It also helps to cater to learners who are struggling with most aspects of the eLearning process.
Alter Training Approaches Based on Job Roles
Different learning techniques benefit different types of employees. Some departments, such as sales, may thrive when using competitive gamification. Those who spend time answering customer service calls might respond better to audio learning. You can’t always generalize a specific learning style to an entire department, but job roles can help you tailor your training based on job type. People tend to gravitate towards roles for certain reasons. The job roles that your employees hold can give you some insight into what type of training they might respond to the best. You can try testing this out and using data from your LMS to corroborate any findings.
No two people learn things exactly the same way. There are those of us who learn by doing, others who learn by watching, some who learn by listening, and so on. Even within the learning categories, there are different combinations of how people like to learn, and sometimes it even changes depending on what is being taught.
Adapting your training and eLearning to different learning habits is crucial for optimal retention and engagement. But of course, it’s easier said than done. You can’t tailor-make eLearning courses to the individual and specific needs of every employee. That being said, you certainly can take steps to try and cater to the masses as best you can.
Choosing an LMS that allows you to easily incorporate different types of eLearning is critical. If your company’s learning management system doesn’t have the flexibility to provide options to your employees, understanding varying learning styles won’t matter. But if your LMS is equipped to switch up the eLearning you provide for your employees, it’s beneficial to try and adapt the training and materials you provide to suit various different learning styles.