"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Dec 19, 2009

Your learning style is hokum

If you have ever spent any time with training consultants it is almost certain that you will have been exposed to the various ways in which they love to categorise us all into little boxes. You will be told you have this or that "emotional IQ" or that you are a person with a particular "learning style".

One trainer, used by an organisation I worked for, packaged his training pitch up with esoteric American Indian hokum. He basically took common sense notions such as learning to remain relaxed and focused in problematic leadership scenarios and packaged them up in "earth wind and fire" shamanic nonsense.

It may have been hokum - but it was very good paying hokum - something he seemed uncomfortable about acknowledging when I pointed it out while also informing him that what he was teaching was basically a variation of standard relaxation techniques.

Some recent research has now highlighted that another training theory used by many consultants has virtually no scientific evidence to support it.

Are you a Visual Learner or an Auditory Leaner? Which of these is your learning style? Well , if a report on a recent review of the literature on learning styles is to be believed you are simply just a learner - there is no evidence to support the view that people are mainly Visual or Auditory Learners.

Consultants have built whole careers around these types of "Learning Models", often claiming that their training material is artfully crafted to deal with peoples different learning styles.

I have even heard people in learning events claiming " I am a visual learner" or "I am an Auditory style person" as though this was some excuse for failing to grapple with material that had to be learned.

I don't suppose this research will stop training consultants peddling their "Learning models" and neither will it stop people claiming that the reason they didn't learn something was because it was presented in the "wrong" learning style.

Good trainers will I guess also continue to do what they have always done and try to present their material in an interesting and stimulating way.

I would be interested to hear what experiences readers have had with trainers and their teaching approaches.


Mike Goad said...

I'm a facilitative trainer, mixing the instructions with questioning to sample for learning. I also try to change up the presentation method to keep things interesting. I was an instructor for 25 years before I retired. My experience is that most people are just learners and using all that accelerated learning fa-de-da only uses up valuable learning time.

One thing I am a true believer in, though, is immersion training. If you immerse the students in the actual experience of what they have to learn, they'll retain much more of the material.

Of course, my setting for doing that is the ultimate training aid. I am currently back at work on an extended contract teaching in a full size, real-time simulator.

Looney said...

And all those years I had thought I was a visual learner. Now I will need to completely re-evaluate who I am!

It still seems to me that people are variously gifted at picking up certain things. Some can learn art, but not math. Others can learn physics, but not music.

Bunc said...

Mike -good point about immersive/ experiential training.

Looney - I thought that when I was younger but not now. My experience tells me that everyine has some ability in all those things if it's tapped and more importantly if they invest energy in it. Too many people tell themselves "oh I cant do that" and give up before they have really tried.
Having said that I do think people have a natural bent for certain things more than others.

Rummuser said...

I was untrainable! I was also a bad teacher. End of story.

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