Manager’s Guide to Learning Styles in Business

Much has been said about how individuals have their own unique approach to learning and different learning styles in business, including why some people flourish while others struggle in various settings. Depending on our strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds, experiences, and preferences, each of us processes data in different ways.learning styles in business

As a business owner or executive, what would be the best method for understanding and accommodating your teammates 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. It concerns an individual’s interest in learning as well as the level of their commitment and focus when being exposed to new information.

Attending learners fall into 2 main categories: one set of learners are effective at concentrating on the core message and are not bothered by most interruptions within the learning environment. The other group takes notice of everything in the learning environment and may let distractions interfere with the information being presented.

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 translating in learning, though some gain more from this than others. There are 3 main translating learner groups: Dependent Translating learners, Collaborative Translating learners, and Autonomous Translating learners.

While Dependent learners require a leader or trainer to help them translate the information, Collaborative learners depend on group discussions or team activities for learning. Autonomous learners, on the other hand, 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 together with their perception of the new information bring presented. This individual learning style has 3 subcategories:

● Visual learners (seeing, writing) are effective at using visual references to connect information given to an overall idea.

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

● Kinesthetic learners (doing, creating) participate in physical activities in order to process information and are often referred to as “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 so that it can be used when needed. It’s about taking important data or information and applying it to a bigger situation.

Understanding learners fall into 2 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 your employee’s process information and which working environment will help them thrive and succeed. Effective 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.

Dave Schoenbeck
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