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By Kathy Duncan
When putting a workshop or course together for a group of people, you might take great pride in the way that you have bound the booklets, and carefully organized the material. It is possible that only half of the group will really appreciate your work. The other half might lose the booklet in their car as soon as the workshop is over.
Generally, people not only favor a particular learning style, but they think with a dominant brain side. The left brain student is likely to appreciate the checklist that you have included with the course syllabus, and is likely to use it, while the right brain student would probably respond better to color coding.
Before designing an educational program, it is a good idea to explore these very different types of thinkers and organizers so that you can attract and maintain the interest of each. If you are the type of person that is motivated to organize this type of learning program, you are likely to be a left brain thinker. In order to be completely effective, you will need to learn different techniques to attract the right brain dreamer. Of all things, do not have your feelings hurt if someone doesn’t fawn over your meticulous presentation. Maybe they just don’t get it. Left brain thinkers are much more obsessive than right brainers.
In addition to dominant brain types, there are three specific learning styles that are individual to each student. If you present workshops, you will soon discover how much it matters that you present a balanced program to include each specific learning style. It will be written all over your participant’s faces as you lecture. They will appear lost during some sections, and will be nodding during others.
The first learning style is the visual learner. These are the seers. This student likes pictures, graphs, colors, videos, and actual demonstrations of how things work. Studies show that visual learners are often good customers for infomercials and television shopping networks. They like outlines and diagrams, and generally do well on IQ tests that have pictures, but they become stressed during oral exams.
The second learning style is the auditory learner. These are the listeners. This type of student loves to memorize long lists of information. They listen to books-on-tape, remember words to songs, and are a specific target for jingles used in advertising. An auditory learner is good at memorization by repeating facts with their eyes closed. These learners are good at remembering specific rhyming techniques like “lefty-loosey, and righty-tighty.” They often use small recorders for recording a teacher’s lecture for later review. Auditory learners do exceptionally well during oral exams.
Lastly, kinesthetic learners are hands-on learners. These are the students that might fidget during the lectures. They don’t relate well to a drawing or explanation of a particular exercise. They must perform the task in order to understand what the words and pictures mean.
The new television show by Dr. Mehmet Oz demonstrates a great balance for education. First, Dr. Oz gives his monologue about how many people die of heart disease each year. He gives the staggering statistics about how and why it happens. He then shows a large, color video screen of the mechanics of a working heart and how it becomes affected by heart disease. He follows this with an audience member putting on surgical gloves and actually feeling and handling a human heart taken from a cadaver. Lastly, he adds the shock factor by having a person that is overweight or has a lifestyle that might cause heart disease stand in front of the audience and discuss their habits that have led to the disease. He then discusses their numbers like cholesterol, blood pressure, etc., and how they can be changed.
Every type of learner is hit with the wow factor of the message that he is trying to portray. Incorporating all of these factors together in your articles, courses, and workshops will assuredly reach your entire audience with your teaching message.
http://www.writemyfire.com. Kathy Duncan is the owner of Write My Fire, Inc. She is a presenter, blogger, and workshop clinician for aspiring writers. She is the author many newsletters, and The Fit Horse Companion, a manual for horse health and fitness including massage therapy and hydrotherapy.