Manager’s Guide to Learning Styles in Business

By February 23, 2017 May 31st, 2023 Building a Better Team

Last Updated on May 31, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck

Much has been said about how individuals have unique approaches to learning and different learning styles in business, including why some people flourish while others struggle in various settings. Likewise, we process data differently depending on our strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds, experiences, and preferences.

A professor is at the head of the class teaching in many different ways


As a business owner or executive, what would be the best method for understanding and accommodating your teammate’s learning styles in business, given that not everyone learns effectively in the same way?

Let’s explore four different learning styles in business categorized by scholars and scientists to help you create an ideal working environment where everyone can contribute and succeed.

1. Attending Learners
Attending is a learning style that primarily examines the context of how presented information is valued and evaluated. In addition, it concerns an individual’s interest in learning and the level of commitment and focus when exposed to new information.

Attending learners fall into two main categories: one set of learners is effective at concentrating on the core message and is not bothered by most interruptions within the learning environment. The other group notices everything in the learning environment and may let distractions interfere with the presented information.

2. Translating Learners
Learners with this individual learning style rely on certain people to make sense of the information. All humans use some form of translation in learning, though some gain more from this than others. There are three main translating learner groups: Dependent Translating, Collaborative Translating, and Autonomous Translating.

While Dependent learners require a leader or trainer to help translate the information, Collaborative learners depend on group discussions or team activities. On the other hand, autonomous learners value self-reliance – they challenge assumptions and reflect upon information by themselves.

3. Relating Learners
The Relating learning style is often the most recognized and focused on approach in schools and other educational settings. Relating learners look at their existing knowledge and link it with their perception of the new information presented. This individual learning style hthrees 3 subcategories:

Visual learners (seeing, writing) effectively use visual references to connect information to an overall idea.

Auditory learners (hearing, reading) prefer to gain information by hearing it. Additionally, these individuals may have difficulty working in silent atmospheres – they need background noise.

Kinesthetic learners (doing, creating) participate in physical activities to process information and are often called “hands-on learners.” Essentially, they learn through demonstrations, experiences, and trial and error.

4. Understanding Learners
This approach involves an individual’s preference for managing, connecting, and refining the information they receive to be used when needed. It’s about taking essential data or information and applying it to a more significant situation.

Understanding learners fall into two subcategories: Global Understanding learners and Analytical Understanding learners. Global learners see the big picture and read between the lines, while Analytical learners focus on details, consistency, and objectivity.

Recognizing different learning styles in business is crucial in understanding how employees process information and which working environment will help them thrive and succeed. Practical training will keep you ahead of your competition and provide a competitive organization your people will be proud to work for.

If you would like to learn more about learning styles in business and the other behavioral assessments I provide and interpret, click here for a complimentary coaching session.

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