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How to Use Stories to Appeal to All 3 Learning Styles

Posted by Marsha Weisleder on 5/27/13 4:00 AM
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People have been using stories to communicate information and teach since the beginning of time. So, if you’re a new trainer or you’re looking for new ways to deliver your message, stories are the way to go! They bring life to your training and more importantly, they actually stick in people’s minds. But did you also know that they appeal to the three different learning styles?

 In our How Adults Learn workshop, we address and explain the different learning styles. You see, people process and learn using their senses and each of us tends to have one preferred sense. Of course, I’m referring to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.

Visual learners think in color, size, and shape. They create diagrams of what they hear and run movies in their minds. They use typical phrases like, “It’s not clear to me,” or “I get the picture,” or “I don’t see the point of this.”

Auditory learners prefer facts, details, clear vocal presentations, and audio recordings. They pay particular attention to the speaker’s voice – the tone, energy, pitch, enthusiasm, and modulation. They use phrases like, “sounds good to me,” or “I hear what you’re saying,” or “I like the sound of that.”

Kinesthetic learners prefer to put their hands on and touch something. They like participating in groups and moving about doing several different activities at the same time. They relive the sensation or the feeling they have experienced. They use phrases like, “it feels right to me,” “I feel good about this,” or “I’m really excited about the future.”

Eric Jensen, author of the book Superteaching, has found that in a typical learning group, you can expect 40% of your learners to be predominantly visual, 40% auditory, and 20% kinesthetic. Obviously, it’s difficult to cater to each person, and that’s why storytelling can be so powerful. It appeals to all three!

Visual learners will remember your story if you create a picture in their minds. Auditory learners will gravitate to your voice and respond to a well-delivered story. And finally, kinesthetic learners will make associations between the content of the story and their own emotions and feelings. They will connect to the story if it touches them in some way.

Over the years, I have shared many stories and will continue to do so. Amazingly, I’ve had repeat clients, who see me years later and are able to recall what I shared. Now, that’s pretty awesome! So, remember to continue using stories and keep building your arsenal of instructional techniques. They’re memorable, powerful, AND everyone likes them!

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Marsha has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. She went on to attend Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced civil litigation for a few years. While working for a company as their in-house legal counsel, Marsha fell into a training position and never looked back! Each day, Marsha brings passion and excitement to her workshops, always encouraging her participants to find their own passion as well. Outside of the classroom, Marsha loves to spend time with her family, travel, and stay active. Of course her main obsession is Elvis! Some people might think she’s a little over-the-top about him, but doesn’t everyone have an Elvis shrine in their home? Maybe not…

Topics: adult learning principles, instructional techniques, tips-for-trainers

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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