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Learning Styles at Work

Knowing your personal learning style can help you understand how you most successfully retain information. Use this self-awareness at work to move through tasks quickly and efficiently and to be a solid team member.

In a highly competitive job market, demonstrating skills that set you apart from other candidates may be the critical difference when applying for a new position or a promotion. Showing a potential employer that you are self-aware and work well in a group is a key skill. One way to become more self-aware and work effectively in a group is to understand your learning style, as well as the styles of your teammates.

A learning style describes the way your brain receives, understands and remembers information. How you receive information can affect your learning speed and how much you remember. Learning styles are divided into three basic categories.

  • Visual learning occurs through reading, seeing images and picturing what you learn in your mind to assist you in understanding and remembering information quickly.
  • Auditory learning occurs through hearing, listening and storing information by the way it sounds to make information make sense to you and easier to recall.
  • Tactile learning occurs through touching, doing or performing the task to be learned, drawing, building or using other forms of physical movements to assist you in understanding and retaining information with ease.

Check out the examples below to determine how you can apply your learning style in a professional environment.

Attending Professional Development Training

If you are attending a training session or meeting, use the following techniques to help you retain the information.

Visual learners. Try to visualize the things you hear. Take notes during the session and then color code the notes with a highlighter to make the most important information stand out.

Auditory learners. Record the meeting so you can listen to it again later. If recording isn't possible, take notes and then record yourself reading the notes. You can learn the information by listening to the recording.

Tactile learners. Chew gum, quietly move your foot in a rhythm, twirl a pen or squeeze a stress ball while you hear the information. The movement will make it easier for you to remember what you heard. If you take notes, group the information to show the relationships among the ideas. You can group the information using color-coded index cards, by using different colored highlighters or any other method of grouping that works for you.

Interacting with Coworkers

Pay attention to how your coworkers or employees respond to information exchanged in the office and try to identify their learning styles - or better yet, ask them. Some professionals may already know their preferences. Providing feedback and tasking assignments to maximize learning styles will show your ability to work well with others and can increase your team's productivity and accuracy.

Visual learners. Assign or ask for tasks through email or other written forms.

Auditory learners. Delegate or request work verbally, either in-person, over the phone or via teleconference.

Tactile learners. Relay assignments or ask for clarification using a form of screen share — if you are a virtual employee or manager — or by demonstrating a process.

For more tips on skills you can use in the workplace, visit the Transferable Skills section of the Employment Readiness lifecycle stage of MySECO. You can also speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website.

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