Recently I was in a workshop that focused on coaching skills, specifically how to listen to others. Our facilitator reminded us that researchers had identified four adult learning styles with the possible emergence of a fifth style. It occurred to me that I had to broaden my facilitation skills in order to address the needs and concerns of the various adult learning styles in the classes that I teach.
As facilitators, we need to be aware of the needs and expectations of the learning styles and adjust our facilitation to meet the needs of the participants in the room. Additionally, we need to be cognizant of our own styles as we tend to facilitate in a way that fits our needs as learners and often neglect the needs of others.
Here is an example from my personal journey. I am a visual/auditory learner who processes information quickly. Since I am a visual learner, I put a great deal of emphasis on PowerPoint, videos, and conversation. Since I process quickly, I become uncomfortable with long periods of silence and lack of movement. When I facilitate a workshop, my tendency is to move participants quickly to the next activity without providing adequate time for the processors to think and make personal applications. As a result, the processors feel frustrated and, at times, disconnect from the material.
The challenge for facilitators is to quickly identify the various learning styles in an event and be willing to adjust our styles to accommodate the needs of those in the room.
Our question for today’s conversation is, what is your learning style? What behaviors or clues do we look for that would indicate how a person best learns?
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