All Dealership Employees are Created Equal, but Each Learns Best with an Individually Optimized and Unique Mix of Different Learning Styles…
The term “learning styles” speaks to the understanding that every dealership employee learns differently. Technically, an employee’s learning style refers to the preferential way in which they absorb, process, comprehend and retain information. For example, when learning how to perform a Lube and Oil Change, some employees understand the process by following a service manager’s verbal instructions, while others have to physically perform the fluid drains, filter replacements and top off the new fluid levels with their own hands in order to learn it.
This concept of individual optimized learning styles has gained widespread recognition in workplace education theory, On-Demand Web Based Training and seminar or classroom management strategy. Individual learning styles depend on cognitive, emotional and environmental factors, as well as one’s prior experience. In other words: everyone’s different. It is important for any dealership manager who is responsible for training employees to understand the differences in their employees’ learning styles, so that they can implement best practice strategies into their daily activities, workplace training and performance assessments.
Understanding the VARK Learning Style Matrix
One of the most accepted understandings of learning styles is that employee learning styles fall into three “categories:” Visual Learners, Auditory Learners and Kinesthetic Learners. These learning styles are found within educational theorist Neil Fleming’s VARK model of Learning. The Richie Bello Training organization has adopted and implemented the VARK model within their comprehensive suite of Online On-Demand Training Programs and in their Leader-Led seminar and workshop programs.
VARK is an acronym that refers to the four types of learning styles:
- Visual Learners
- Auditory Learners
- Reading/Writing Preference
- Kinesthetic Learners
The VARK model is also sometimes referred to as the VAK model, eliminating Reading/Writing as a category of preferential learning. The VARK model acknowledges that adult learners have different approaches to how they process information, referred to as “preferred learning modes.” The main ideas of VARK are outlined in the book; “Learning Styles Again: VARKing up the right tree!” (Fleming & Baume, 2006). Key points when considering dealership training needs are:
- Preferred learning modes have significant influence on employee behavior and learning
- Preferred learning modes should be matched with appropriate learning strategies
- Information that is accessed through employee’s use of their modality preferences shows an increase in their levels of comprehension, motivation, and metacognition (Muscle Memory).
Identifying your employees as visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinesthetic learners, and aligning your overall training program with these learning styles, will prove to be beneficial for your entire team. Allowing employees to access information in terms they are comfortable with will increase their professional confidence.
By understanding what kind of learner you and/or your employees are, you can now gain a better perspective on how to implement these learning styles into your training plans and new employee on-boarding techniques.
SWOT Strategies for On-Demand Training Programs
Referred to as SWOT (“Study Without Tears”), Richie Bello provides advice on how employees can use their learning modalities and skills to their advantage when being trained for an OEM Certification test or new job assignment.
(V) – Visual SWOT Strategies
- Utilize graphic organizers such as charts, graphs, and diagrams.
- Redraw your pages from memory.
- Replace important words with symbols or initials.
- Highlight important key terms in corresponding colors.
(A) – Aural SWOT Strategies
- Record your summarized notes and listen to them on tape.
- Talk it out. Have a discussion with others to expand upon your understanding of a topic.
- Reread your notes and/or assignment out loud.
- Explain your notes to your peers/fellow “aural” learners.
(R) – Read/Write SWOT Strategies
- Write, write and rewrite your words and notes.
- Reword main ideas and principles to gain a deeper understanding.
- Organize diagrams, charts, and graphic organizers into statements.
(K) – Kinesthetic SWOT Strategies
- Use real life examples and case studies in your summary to help with abstract concepts.
- Redo technician experiments or BDC call campaigns.
- Utilize pictures and photographs that illustrate your idea.
Want to know how you learn best?
Complete Richie Bello’s VARK Questionnaire to find out what kind of learner you are.
READ MORE: Teaching Methods