How we each learn is an incredibly unique process, with no one person being exactly the same as another when it comes to absorbing and retaining information. However, most of us can somehow be slotted into one or more of the following six categories when it comes to our favoured learning styles:
- Visual or spatial learner – Learning through observation.
- Aural learner – Learning through listening.
- Verbal or linguistic learner – Learning through written and spoken word.
- Physical or Kinaesthetic learner – Learning through movement.
- Social or interpersonal learner – Learning in groups.
- Solitary learner – Learning alone.
Despite this well-studied and well-known idea that learning styles can differ hugely and a ‘one-size-fits-all' approach to teaching simply won’t work, society as a whole has been slow at implementing a varied way of approaching and implementing education and training across schools, universities and in the workplace.
Nevertheless, this has all changed now as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the quick adoption of remote and home learning, employees and teachers alike have been forced to find alternative methods of training and education to fit a virtual environment. Digital Learning, while not a new concept, has boomed, and the results speak for themselves. Information retention rates can be up to six times more effective online than when learning face-to-face, participants can learn up to five times more material without needing to increase their time spent training, and revenue generated per employee increases by 26 per cent.
So, we know Digital Learning is certainly a hit, but what are its key positives and how does this benefit each learning type?
Encouragement of self-directed learning
Learning type: Visual, Aural, Physical
Online learning usually means employees need to take their education and up-skilling into their own hands. The task in hand needs to be identified, research must be undertaken, and results must be evidenced. Not only does this mean that employees are being asked to increase their productivity and initiative, but they are also at liberty to learn in a way that suits them best. This may be through visual cues, sounds and music or physical movement.
Learning type: Solitary and Social
When training resources are moved online and employees are given the autonomy to take their learning into their own hands, it also means they can make their training fit around their own schedules. During the pandemic, the need for employers to offer flexibility has been crucial for a large number of employees, and this trend will undoubtedly continue, even as things return to normal.
All learning types will be able to undertake learning at a pace that suits them, very important especially to those who are either solitary or social learners. Flexibility in learning hours allows the space to either take time out with others within the team and learn together during work hours or, to wait until the end of the day when there is time to be alone.
New learning strategies
Learner type: Visual and physical
Digital learning and resources open up brand-new avenues of education which aren’t physically possible on a large-scale, face-to-face training session, one of which is gamification.
From primary school children through to CEOs, if you are a visual or physical learner gamification is one sure-fire to quickly absorb and retain important information. The application of adding in game-design elements to something that isn’t a game, such as in-depth learning, not only allows specific learners to work well through visual cues or movement, but it has also been proven to increase engagement and long-term participation.
Of course, Digital Learning still has issues it needs to iron out and find ways around, especially when it comes things like to accessibility for all employees, managing screen time for mental and physical health and technology issues. Nevertheless, it is clear that eLearning has huge benefits for all, not only giving a real sense of independence and self-determination, but also granting employees the freedom and flexibility that is crucial when it comes to understanding and, more importantly, enjoying learning.