Addressing Learning Styles (Part 3)

Two learning styles down, two to go.

3. The Passive Learner

The term “Passive” may seem to imply “lazy” or “uninvolved,” but that is not what a Passive Learner is by any means. A Passive Learner is one who learns primarily by watching. They can watch another perform a task, or watch a video of the person performing the task, and they will substantially “get it.” They capture information through their eyes. It is likely that in our information age, we will encounter increasing proportions of Passive Learners.

Of the learning styles, Passive Learners gain the most by demonstration. Show them how it’s done, and they will be repeating the actions correctly in short order. That is, if the demonstration was correct. Needless to say, if the demonstration is incorrect, they will quickly learn (and attempt to employ) incorrect methods.

Procedures and the Passive Learner: on the surface, it may seem that procedures will be of little use to a Passive Learner. That is not true. Procedures can be structured to aid the Passive Learner’s quick learning of a task, and if they can be, they should be!

The most useful procedure features for the Passive Learner are photographs and diagrams. Pictures that supplement (not replace) the word descriptions will help the Passive Learner connect words to concepts.

There is a second option for a Passive Learner. When asking a Passive Learner to read a procedure (and training should always include reading a procedure), have the learner take a copy of the procedure to  the equipment location (assuming the procedure describes a piece of equipment) and have him or her read the procedure there. In that manner, they a get a 3-D view of the equipment and its operation.


About Tim James "Mr. Procedure"

A communicator; all-purpose capability in writing, designing and presenting training for all facets of organizational function. While my focus has been manufacturing, my training/development experience includes supervisory and lead person development, audit processes, continuous improvement and Lean, and Quality Management System implementation.
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