Education for human freedom is also education for human community. The two cannot exist without each other . . . In the end, it turns out that liberty is not about thinking or saying or doing whatever we want. It is about exercising our freedom in such a way as to make a difference in the world and make a difference for more than just ourselves.” — “Only Connect . . . The Goals of Liberal Education”

, by William Cronon

In order to “make a difference” with your training initiatives, an educator/trainer has to first solve the problem of differing learning styles within her organization. This may not be as difficult a task as one might initially think. For example, some jobs require good reading ability. If the instructor knows this skill is required, then the networking technologies that place lots of words and graphics on the computer screen is an acceptable choice – as well as are books and manuals.

But, what about the vast number of jobs that do not require reading in order for the individual to succeed? Are you going to throw the same books and networking CBT technologies at those individuals? If you do, you will be wasting the resources of your organization – for little learning will be the result – and, consequently, skills improvement will be minimal.

Most people are visual learners when it comes to skills acquisition. ‘Seeing’, ‘hearing’, and ‘doing’ – in combination – is still the best way. Stand-up instruction (with hands-on exercises); multi-sensory e-Learning (with optional word-for-word audio), interactive CD-ROM (with full-motion video) are all more effective media for the large majority of people seeking to acquire, or improve, skills.

In fact, studies continue to reveal that using “seeing-hearing-doing” multiple-media instruction (in a full-motion video and optional word-for-word audio environment) will increase the majority of learners’ understanding by more than 50%, resulting in a 25-50% greater learning retention, and with a 50-60% greater consistency in content understanding – the ultimate aim of all learning.

In short, you must know the learning style demographics of your trainees before you can even begin to successfully contemplate your training initiative options.

More tomorrow – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning