A Message for Instructional Designers - Learning Styles Are Important

I recently had a casual conversation with a guy responsible for checking aircraft engines for cracks in the metal casings. A pretty critical job you might think—particularly if, like me, you fly a lot on business. I was interested in the quality tool and systems he uses in his job “Six Sigma? SPC? ISO 9000? “ I inquired.

“I sat through all that stuff in class,” was his response, “but I really didn’t understand it or pay attention”. He thought for a second and added, “but I know I can detect a hairline crack on a piece of metal from 100 yards!”

This was a slap on the forehead moment for me. For years I had designed and delivered training courses on all kinds of topics and prided myself in knowing a thing or two about differing learning styles—but this interaction made differences in learning styles come to life.

While I was interested in inquiring about the theoretical frameworks underlying his job, my metal detecting genius friend was not interested in theory. He learned what he needed to know and moved on with life in a practical way—detecting very important cracks in very important pieces of metal!

My friend could be described as an ACTIVE, SENSING, VISUAL learner. REFLECTIVE, INTUITIVE, VERBAL instructional designers like me better understand how to design effective training programs for him. After all—we need those hairline cracks in our plane engines detected PRONTO!

Author:.

Ben Nash is the editor-in-chief of DailyHRTips.com. He is the founder and chief developer of the blog, providing tech/design support as well as tips and book reviews. Ben has held many interesting jobs in his professional career, including: barista, landscaper, public policy intern, barista (again), professional horse wrangler, ski lift attendant (aka "liftie"), political science teaching assistant, marketing and sales assistant, and an ecommerce/web d...

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