Learning is always in fashion — no matter what style you prefer
Diverse Learning Styles Make for Diverse Solutions
Think back to your school days. Were you especially attuned to music or melody? Did you long to get your hands busy or move around? Maybe listening to your teacher lecture or reading a text opened up a world of new ideas to you. Or did you gravitate toward the visual — to pictures and a sense of space?
Chances are you and your schoolmates displayed the full range of those behaviors as some point, but psychologists have learned that people tend to gravitate toward one learning style or another. It may make teaching tougher, but respecting and encouraging diverse learning styles is best for student performance. When we do not, otherwise excellent learners find themselves labeled as poor students. Respect for diverse learning styles is no panacea, of course, but understanding the breadth of human knowledge acquisition can help individuals and organizations work better.
The Seven Primary Learning Styles
Visual/Spatial — These learners prefer images, pictures, and/or a sense of how things, including their bodies, operate in a given volume of space.
Aural — As the name implies, aural learners learn best through auditory or musical information.
Verbal — This is the default learning style most of us recognize: learning through linguistic information delivered in oral or written fashion.
Kinesthetic — People who learn through touch, body movement, and hand exploration are generally kinesthetic learners. What appears to be an inability to sit still may just be an expression of learning style.
Logical — Logical learners are also school-friendly people who retain information presented in consistent systems of reasoning.
Social — Team-based learning is increasingly common in educational environments and is predominant in businesses. Social learners excel here.
Solitary — If you are an autodidact who longs for self-study, chances are you’re a solitary learner.
Diverse Learning Styles Deepen a Culture of Innovation
The theory of multiple intelligences and learning styles has not yet upended many of the pervasive logic-, language- and testing-based school systems in the world, but organizations that depend on lifelong learning have recognized that a rich innovation culture is built of diverse learning styles.
DuPont has maintained its culture of discovery for over 200 years by, in part, providing a nurturing home for people who learn best in a variety of environments, demonstrated by our 100% score on the 2016 Disability Equality Index.
Through programs like the use of Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART), DuPont engineers environments suited to the full range of learning styles. CART includes subtitles on audio calls, helping the hard of hearing, visual learners and those who are not native speakers of the language being spoken. CART was used at the most recent Town Hall Address; the first time it had been used at a company-wide event. Lydia Mallett, Director of Global Talent Acquisition and Organizational Vibrancy, says “Programs like CART create a vibrant and inclusive environment where all employees can fully participate and perform to their fullest potential.”
Mallett pointed out that DuPont’s track record of innovation heavily depends on the contributions from a wide variety of people coming from diverse cultural, generational, and intellectual backgrounds. “The diversity of experiences of our scientists and engineers increases their ability to see problems from a unique angle and create unique solutions,” she says. “Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand with the creativity and knowledge needed to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.”