J

FIGURE 1-4. Learning modality self-assessment

Symbols

Drawing Highlight

Visually

Visualization activities

Symbols

Various fonts

Bold lettering

Color

Pictures/ images

Visual aids

Actual items

Games j

Active learning

Tests

Actual items

Games j

Active learning

Tests

^ Movement y Field trips •-'Group activities ^ Demonstrations Note taking

Various fonts

Diagrams/charts

Extra white space

Bold lettering

Color

Pictures/ images

Visual aids

Small group discussions

Sounds

Audio tapes

Review aloud

^ Movement y Field trips •-'Group activities ^ Demonstrations Note taking

Kinesthetically

MINDMAP 1. Getting Your Message Across

Small group discussions

Vocal variety

Sounds

Audio tapes

— Reading aloud

Panel discussions

Instructor-level dialog

Review aloud

If I'm hearing you correctly . . . Sounds like a good idea . . . It sounds like you are saying . . . It's clear as a bell.

To help meet the needs of your auditory learners, prepare sessions that include many opportunities for verbal exchange on small and large group levels. Incorporate a variety of aural stimulation, such as instructor-led discussion, music, debates, panel discussions, role plays, interactive CD-ROM, reading text aloud, use of tape recorders, or demonstrations involving verbal explanations.

Visual Learners

Gain understanding from stimuli received through their eyes and envisioned in their minds.

Extract interpersonal message meaning by observing a person's body language, facial expressions, gestures, and dress. Prone to daydreaming or imagining.

Visualize concepts of theory and content received through patterns or pictures in their mind.

Often sit in a location where their view is unobstructed (e.g., front of the room). Are often good spellers.

Learn best from visual stimulus (e.g., slides, transparencies, handouts, flip charts, posters, or videos).

In general, take many notes to reinforce what they experience and for reference later. Have a subconscious, emotional reaction to color and light. Often have trouble following verbal instructions or directions. Can sometimes be identified by their verbal statements: I see what you are saying. I get the picture. I believe I see what you mean. The picture is clear to me. I see your point.

I have a good picture of the situation now. As I see it . . .

That conjures up images for me. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

To ensure that you have provided the needed stimulus for your visual participants, create training programs that offer a potpourri of visual stimuli. Include brightly colored papers, markers, and posters with content that ties to the session topic and previous concepts that learners have experienced. This allows mental images to connect and provides reinforcement of key program elements. Offer quotes, stories, analogies, and examples that are relative to points made in the session and that provide mental images for learners. Use cartoons, graphics, and caricatures on handouts, flip charts, and other visual aids. If you use multimedia presentations, include animation and color. Add video segments that will supplement program content and discussions. Also include visualization activities in which participants are asked to envision how certain situations would appear if they applied content discussed in the session. For example, have them imagine how customer service would improve if they applied effective listening skills learned during a program on interpersonal communication. Then, have learners discuss their ideas in small groups to exchange thoughts and capture them on flip charts for large group discussion and action.

Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

Gather information and gain maximum understanding by being involved in an activity or by performing a task.

Learn best through explaining, exploring, manipulating, and assembling or disassembling ideas or objects.

May become bored or fidgety during lectures and periods of inactivity. Extract meaning and comprehension through touching, doing, and interacting. Prefer physical face-to-face input.

Typically enjoy activity but often leave a mess when working on projects. Are mentally stimulated by movement (theirs and others).

Interpersonal communication often punctuated by strong gesturing and enthusiastic vocal quality.

Can sometimes be identified by their verbal statements: I'm moved by what you said.

I think I have a handle on what you mean.

I can't quite grasp your point.

Let's pick the problem apart and see what we are dealing with.

Let's jump in and get started.

Let me handle this.

I've got a grip on what you are saying.

To help ensure that you have addressed the needs of your kinesthetic participants, design programs and activities in which movement is a regular part of the learning. Have people physically move to other locations at various points for discussions, or use demonstrations, field trips, games, simulations, stretching, or energizers. Encourage role playing, in-basket, or other similar activities in which learners have to handle things, interact, or move. Have actual items available for touching or exploration when possible. When actual items are not available, try to use mockups (models that look like the real object), simulators, or other substitutes.

Appealing to Modalities

Provide brightly colored manipulative toys, such as sponge balls or Koosh® balls, plastic or metal spring toys (e.g., Slinky®), foam rubber squish toys in shapes related to the topic (e.g., a telephone for customer service or telephone skills, a computer for technical training, or a brain for creativity or problem-solving), or various colored shape markers (Crayola® makes these) on participant tables. Tell participants at the beginning of the session that they are free to quietly play with or manipulate the items if they would like to. You might even build in icebreaker, review, or energizer activities that includes the toys. Through use of such toys you can allow learners to personally exercise their minds; add a little levity and relaxation; and, if you see many people manipulating items at the same time, the message might be that they are ready to move on or take a break. This type of approach to training incorporates two of the three learning modalities.

I hear; I forget I see; I remember I do; I understand —Chinese Proverb

• STAGES OF LEARNING

For learning to truly occur, a phased process is often helpful. The process that follows moves through five stages or phases. In it, participants are alerted to the learning experience in which they are about to take part. They are then led along a preplanned path for transferring knowledge, skills, or attitudes back to the workplace or other venue.

Stage 1: Preparing for Learning

In the first phase of the learning process, you must condition participants for learning. This is typically done through icebreakers or activities tied to the training program content and by providing behavioral objectives or goals. In this introductory phase you provide a foundation of information and switch learner's brains onto the topic to be addressed. By doing so, you increase the likelihood that they will quickly recognize, absorb, and process new information or stimuli. Further, by providing a verbal, visual, and kinesthetic push, then identifying how the new information connects to what they already know, you can assist in bridging with memory.

Stage 2: Stimulating Learning

This phase of the learning process provides handouts, job aids, or other visual material to supplement verbal messages. Such materials allow participants to access information from their own learning style (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic). To supplement such input, you can use associated visual aids to make points, reinforce concepts, or provide alternative methods of information delivery, for example, colorful posters, transparencies or computer-generated slides, or flip charted information.

Stage 3: Expansion

Once information has been delivered to the brain via one or more of the elements in Phase 2, connections are started. As a facilitator, you can help create these bonds by conducting interim reviews throughout a session. During such reinforcements, you help mold and stabilize the learning through repetition and by helping learners see relationships. Such activities aid in increasing the depth of learner understanding while helping prepare for Phase 4.

Stage 4: Memorization

It is during this phase that neural connections are made in the brain to help ensure that a learner can subsequently access or recall information and concepts learned. You can increase the effectiveness of this phase by teaching and using a variety of mnemonic or memory techniques. These strategies help learners later access the information acquired so that they can ultimately apply the learning.

Stage 5: Implementation of Learning

In the final phase of learning, knowledge or skills gathered during the training are recalled and put into practice. If a learner is not able to perform tasks or recall information learned successfully, then there was a potential breakdown in the learning process and a review may be required.

To test the success of this phase, have participants demonstrate knowledge or skills through tests, practical application, by teaching others as you observe, or through other means in which they actively apply what was learned.

PUTTING YOUR BRAIN TO WORK: ACTIVITY

Think about a program that you present often.

What are some specific activities or strategies that you can apply for each of the five Stages of Learning that you just read about?

Stage 1: Preparing to Learn _

Stage 2: Stimulating Learning

Stage 3: Expansion

Stage 4: Memorization

Stage 5: Implementation of Learning

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