Addressing Learning Styles (Part 4)

Today we look at the last learning style.

4. The Reflective Learner

The Reflective Learner is someone who processes information in a different manner than the others. Reflective Learners may mimic Pensive Learners in many ways, but there is one key difference. For the Reflective Learner to understand (and ultimately perform) the task, they must see the task in the context of a larger picture. The “picture” may relate to the significance of a task or to the benefits (particularly long-term) to the learner.

Reflective Learners often come off as slow, perhaps even stupid. Their learning curves can be somewhat slow, and may take more effort to get them over the hump in terms of understanding. But invariably they are worth the effort, because once they understand, they really understand, the why as well as the what. Once convinced the task matters, they will perform very well. In time, they will also likely become your best on-the-job trainers.

Procedures and the Reflective Learner: the procedure can be an excellent device to “rope in” the Reflective Learner. One critical thing a good written procedure does is it puts boundaries around what the trainee is expected to learn. Secondly, the procedure can include notes on the significance of a task, and provide some background on the task and/or equipment.

The key to including notes for the Reflective Learner is not placing them in the activity descriptions (the step-by-step instructions). Not that the Reflective Learner won’t appreciate it, but it will impede understanding by the other three learning styles.

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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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