People learn in different ways. Some people like practical exercises and are prepared to make mistakes whereas others like to digest the information / read the instructions first and then act.
I am what is known as an activist. The other evening I was asking my husband to show me something on the computer – he wanted to do it for me but I wanted him to tell me what to do and I would do it. I like to learn by doing. If I was cooking a chicken dish for example I would ge t travelguidebook out the instructions but I would not follow them too carefully whereas he on the other hand would do exactly what the recipe said. I say “ah sure I will just throw in a few tomatoes here and a few carrots there and use up what is in the fridge” but he starts stressing if we don’t have exactly the right ingredients. I say “sure just use a bit more of this or a bit less of that” but I can see that he is not happy. As a matter of fact he works in a job where he is required to be quite precise and technical so that suits his personality. His learning style is that of a reflector.
I have another friend who is a reflector. He won’t give me a straight answer when I ask him a question. He wants to go away and think about it. I like to think on the spot and I try and live in the present so sometimes this bothers me the fact that he wants to think about what I have suggested. Sometimes he reflects so much that I think he gets tied up in knots.
I know somebody else who is a theorist. She is happiest when involved in theoretical abstract discussion eg. about modern art or about what might happen if certain circumstances were to coincide in order to create a perfect storm. Other people might find this type of discussion a waste of time because the likelihood of a perfect storm eg. prolonged and heavy snowfall or extreme flooding in the month of November is a very unlikely event. But as we know we have had both types of weather in the last two years – just because something is unlikely does not mean that it will never happen and theorists who have perhaps thought about these problems in advance of them happening may be in a position to offer some solutions.
The last type of thinker is described as a pragmatist. This person is very practical. He/she will not want to get involved in abstract discussion and would prefer to learn things that they think will be of direct benefit to them in their life and work. They won’t spend too long thinking about things, they will just learn what they can and try to apply the knowledge as benefits them.
Trainers need to be aware that people have different learning styles and try to balance their presentation to include the different types of learning.