The importance of taking a flexible approach to apprenticeship training
It's probably not news to you that there are multiple learning styles. Different people take in and process information in different ways, and what works for one person might not work for others. Some might rely almost entirely on one style of learning, while some might use different techniques in different circumstances. There are no good or bad learning styles, and nor is any one person stuck with the technique they find easiest. Growth and development in how we approach education can occur at any time of life.
What's important is to recognise different methods of learning. When it comes to teaching apprentices and trainees, you'll get the best results if you stay flexible enough to accommodate different styles. It's very much about playing your apprentice or trainee to their strength. While some tasks will require very specific training, others can be approached in a number of ways. Here you will find a break down of the seven different learning styles you might encounter when working with your new apprentice – if you can identify how they learn, the process of qualification becomes much easier.
1) Visual learning
Apprentices or trainees learning in this style (also referred to as "spatial learning") do best using images and video. They have the ability to visualise objects, plans and complex structural elements that are otherwise difficult to understand. A visual learner is someone who will absorb far more information from a diagram than a verbal explanation. These people can also learn a lot from simply observing a task being demonstrated. Visual learners excel in design based fields and strategic planning.
Mantra: "Watch and learn"
2) Aural learning
This style (also referred to as "auditory-musical-rhythmic learning") relates to those people who learn primarily by listening. A typical aural learner uses rhyming as a memory prompt – we all know someone who does this. These people will listen carefully to verbal instructions, understand your meaning perfectly, and retain the knowledge better than those who learn in other styles. Aural learners are far more likely to desire music while they learn, and they can effectively anchor thoughts and concepts to music, which aids them in revising their new skills later. Aural learners are great communicators and do well in jobs where this skill is required.
Mantra: "Do as I say"
3) Verbal learning
Verbal learning (also referred to as "linguistic learning") relies on the written and spoken word. Unlike aural learners who gain knowledge from listening to instructions, verbal learners retain information by talking through the concepts. These people will also do well simply reading or writing information, although a conversation about a specific topic will yield better results. Like aural learners, those who are comfortable with the verbal style are very good communicators. These people typically make good writers, public speakers and teachers.
Mantra: "Repeat after me"
4) Physical learning
Those who learn in this style (also referred to as "bodily-kinesthetic learners") are people who take a hands-on approach to learning a task. When encountering something new, these types of apprentices or trainees will be eager to jump in and have a go. Physical learners often take a "trial and error" approach to self-learning and are very results driven. You might know someone who enjoys taking things apart and putting them back together again – this is a quintessential physical learner. These people tend to make great mechanics, construction workers, chefs, and other roles that require physical skills.
Mantra: "Do as I do"
5) Logical learning
Logical learners (also referred to as "mathematical learners") are those that are process driven. They know that A leads to B, which in turn leads to C. Logical learners have a natural tendency for pattern recognition and excel at understanding relationships in systems, no matter how complex. These learners tend to have strong mathematics skills, and generally, the more information you give them during instruction, the better. If they understand an entire end-to-end process, they become far better at any single task involved. Logical learners make excellent accountants, computer programmers, and investigators.
Mantra: "Do it by the book"
6) Social learning
The aforementioned learning styles can be complemented by two additional learning styles. The first is social learning (also referred to as "interpersonal learning"). These people will do best when working as part of a team. Being able to bounce thoughts and ideas off other people and work collaboratively is how they excel. Typically social learners will be aural or verbal learners too, and boast the strong communication skills of those two styles. Social learners make good councillors, human resource professionals and sales people.
Mantra: "Let's have a chat"
7) Solitary learning
The second and final style element is solitary learning (also referred to as "intrapersonal learning"). Solitary learners do best working on their own. They will work problems over internally – this is how they will find solutions and retain information. Solitary learners can also have any other dominant learning style, and no matter the skills they are developing, they will take their learning into their own hands. These learners tend to have excellent problem solving skills, which can be applied to a range of roles from web development to security personnel.
Mantra: "Think it over"
The key to successfully completing an apprenticeship or traineeship is to give your new recruit room to work in the way that suits them best. Some learning styles naturally lend themselves to certain roles, but because styles overlap and shift, almost any learner can approach almost any job. To find out how to provide the best learning experience for your apprentice or trainee, contact MAS National today.