What is your Learning Style?
It's that time of year again. No, not Christmas, but back to school. New clothes, new school supplies, and schedules. As I prepared my son for 4th grade, we met his teacher and received "the form" to fill out:
- What should I know about your child?
- Does your child work independently or better in groups?
- How does your child learn best?
It's interesting to me that we stop asking these learning-style questions as we get older. No such form came home from my middle school aged child. I think we forget as colleagues, too, how people learn day to day. As writers and educators, it's important that we address learning styles. For example, some people are visual learners and when confronted with a page filled with text, they skim looking for images and bulleted lists. It's daunting to them to read all those words. Not because they can't, but because it's not how they learn best.I'm again reminded of the learning styles question. The answer? We cannot expect to write training or online help for all users the same way.
As we move through the 21st century, we must get out of the rut of doing things the same way or "the way we've always done it" and address all kinds of learners. The internet and social media bombard users with information on a daily basis. Still, we are a jumbled group of users with different learning styles: auditory, textual, and tactile.
Additionally, many people learn best with combinations of these learning styles so that each style reinforces the last
In my particular product line, we have several new projects emerging. I'm able to approach the new projects with a renewed sense of purpose. I do not have to follow the "old way" of doing things! I can provide different learning aspects in one help system. It's my job to link users to training videos and quick reference cards that might help them internalize the information.
So as our kids across the country go back to school, we should address our own learning tools and keep the learning styles at the forefront so we can best help our internal and external users.
Posted by Dawn Miller, Technical Writer, Epicor University