Extreme Learner: Care & Handling Guide

636 views

Published on

Just like friends and family, your employees, coworkers and clients have inherent personality traits and learning styles. All of these folks can be fairly typical learners—those who fall into the broad categories of visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners—or they can be extreme learners. What’s an extreme learner? Think hyperimpulsive, hypersensory, hypervisual, hyperdistractible and even hyperactive! Here’s our take on successfully training these difficult-to-reach learners by characterizing and accommodating their unique learning styles through personas.

Published in: Business, Technology
0 Comments
2 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
636
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
12
Comments
0
Likes
2
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Extreme Learner: Care & Handling Guide

  1. 1. EXTREME LEARNER: CARE & HANDLING GUIDE
  2. 2. EXTREME LEARNER: CARE & HANDLING GUIDE AHEADTOMEBOTTMLINERES OURCES Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates 11639 E. Wethersfield Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85259 USA marketing@docntrain.com www.docntrain.com Phone: 480-614-8440 Toll-free: 877-614-8440 Fax: 480-614-2775 Copyright © 2008 Michaels & Associates Docntrain, Ltd. dba Michaels & Associates. All rights reserved.2Page
  3. 3. EXTREME LEARNER: CARE & HANDLING GUIDEWORKING WITH AN EXTREME LEARNER?H E R E ’ S W H AT T O D OJust like friends and family, your employees, coworkers and clients have inherent personality traitsand learning styles. All of these folks can be fairly typical learners—those who fall into the broadcategories of visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners—or they can be extreme learners. What‟s anextreme learner? Think hyperimpulsive, hypersensory, hypervisual, hyperdistractible and evenhyperactive! Here‟s our take on successfully training these difficult-to-reach learners by characterizingand accommodating their unique learning styles through personas.Extreme learner personasAccording to author Alan Cooper in The Inmates are Running the Asylum, personas are “a precisedescription of our user and what he wishes to accomplish.” If you haven‟t used personas, considerthem “stand-in‟s” for actual users that can drive your e-learning or training approach. While personasare not real people, they represent real people.The following pages include personas and training approaches for extreme learners—learners whomay be hyperimpulsive, hypervisual, hyperdistractible and hyperactive. Use this document to helpidentify the “difficult child” in your employee, coworker or client before launching your own traininganalysis. 3 Page
  4. 4. Hyperimpulsive learners are quick to judge and are usually right-brained. These learners often lean toward non- linear thinking and learning. Name: Jackie Age: 24 Profession: Technical Services Representative Likes: Being in control, working at her own pace, being free from distractions Dislikes: Changes in her environment, staying focused on one thing, days4 of boring lecturesPage
  5. 5. The Persona:Jackie is a technical services representative for a small computer company. She‟s only 24 years old, but is a leader in herdivision: she‟s very creative and comes up with innovative and cost-saving solutions whenever there‟s a tough customer tohandle. Her coworkers are constantly amazed at how well she „thinks on her feet!‟ The downside to her creativity? As ahyperimpulsive learner, Jackie is easily thrown off by changes in her environment. Something as small as an airconditioner starting up can distract her just long enough to lose track of the instructor‟s message. To make matters worse,questions pop into her head all the time and interfere with her ability to stay tuned into the class. Endless days of lectureand PowerPoint slides are not only mind-numbing—they are downright ineffective when it comes to Jackie‟s long-termretention. What works for her? When a short training session is available that she has some control over, Jackie isenergized, enthusiastic and learns quickly. The best learning approaches for Jackie are mini training modules she cancomplete on her own time. When she can tune out her distractions, she‟s free to learn.The Approach:Learners who are hypersensitive need training that they can adjust to their own visualand auditory comfort level. Like the hyperdistractible type described later in this table,these learners react well to color and styles that are soothing and calming; think „Zen-like‟training for the best result.Hypersensitive learners may not require short modules and can work through longertraining segments once they are engaged in the material.Classroom training can sometimes be too distracting for these learnersto maintain focus. Consider self-paced training that they can completein their own private workspace with a headset. 5 Page
  6. 6. Hypervisual learners are keenly attuned to the visual side of training; note-taking skills are a terrific aid to retention for these learners. Name: James Age: 50 Profession: Sales Representative Likes: Colorful graphics & flowcharts, challenging exercises Dislikes: Long lectures, dry training materials6Page
  7. 7. The Persona:James is a 50-year-old sales representative for a large corporation. He sees himself as hypervisual andknows he learns best from graphics and video-based training approaches. The worst training scenario forJames is sitting in a classroom with an instructor reading through material—but neglecting to present itvisually at the same time. Since he‟s not attuned to auditory learning, James has trouble holding hisattention in these situations and may even find it difficult to take notes when there are no graphic cluesto help him figure out what‟s important and what‟s not so important. What makes the learning easy?When you give him a colorful graphic or flowchart it‟s a snap for James to hone in on what‟simportant—and even take some valuable notes. And whenever there‟s a challenging training exercise,James is the first one to complete his work. He‟ll take a challenging exercise over a simplistic one any day.By challenging himself, James knows with confidence that he has mastered even the most complex subject!The Approach:Hypervisual types may represent what gifted learning researcher Dr. Linda Silverman calls “visual-spatial” learners.Visual-spatial learners think in pictures rather than words. They learn all at once and “when the light bulb goes on,learning is permanent.” Since hypervisual learners are “whole-part” learners, make sure you present the big picturewhen explaining topics or terms. Then follow up with the nitty-gritty details. When designing training, remember thatvisual-spatial learners master information in a non-sequential manner. Since they don‟t need to see every processperformed in sequence, it‟s best to avoid lengthy step-by-step descriptions. Hypervisual learners need a chance totake notes as they are learning as an aid to retention. To play up the visual aspect of training,employ images, pictures, color and other visual media as much as possible. Use diagramsto help these hypervisual types understand links between parts of a system or a concept.Since these folks may have great talent with difficult assignments, make sure their work isalways challenging! 7 Page
  8. 8. Hypersensitive learners are easily affected by extraneous auditory or visual stimuli. Name: Samantha Age: 35 Profession: Manager Likes: A calm environment with no distractions, working in a familiar space Dislikes: Disruptions, bland lectures, changes in her surroundings8Page
  9. 9. The Persona:Samantha is a 35-year-old manager who is a hypersensitive learner. With thisextreme personality, she easily senses any and all variations in the office, such as a subordinate not feeling well. Whilethis works for her as a manager, it works against her during training. Changes in the classroom—such as a coworkerasking a question—affect her ability to pay attention to an instructor, no matter how engaging. Unfortunately, much ofthe training her company provides just doesn‟t fill the bill. Large classes and a bland and repetitive lecture format leaveher cold. Samantha can learn quickly, but needs to be in a calm environment with no distractions. Her best trainingexperience was when she took an on-line course and completed all of the modules at her desk with a headset. Not onlydid she complete the lessons quickly, but she also had a high level of retention.The Approach:Learners who are hypersensitive need training that they can adjust to their own visual and auditory comfort level. Likethe hyperdistractible type described later, these learners react well to color and styles that are soothing and calming;think „Zen-like‟ training for the best result.Hypersensitive learners may not require short modules and can work through longer training segments once they areengaged in the material.Classroom training can sometimes be too distracting for these learnersto maintain focus. Consider self-paced training that they can completein their own private workspace with a headset. 9 Page
  10. 10. Hyperdistractible learners need “low-impact” training that can be approached in bite-size pieces. Name: Troy Age: 28 Profession: Manager in Training Likes: Working at his own pace in a familiar environment, portable training10 Dislikes: Disruptions, trying to stay focusedPage
  11. 11. The Persona:Troy is a 28-year-old manager in training—and a typical hyperdistractible learner. Whenever he attends formal classroomtraining sessions, even the slightest disruption draws his attention away from the instructor. While he is a bright individual,his mind is constantly racing forward to the instructor‟s next topic and he is obsessed with flipping ahead in the trainingguide. When a new student walks into the room he may lose his focus for the next 15 minutes! Troy prefers to work at hisown pace and in a familiar location, such as in his work area or cubicle. When working through sessions on his own, Troyfinds it‟s a breeze to keep his „eye on the ball‟ and complete his work. Since long training segments totally lose him, hise-learning modules must be short and sweet as well as portable. He has no problems with learning or retention whenmaterial is presented appropriately.The Approach:Hyperdistractible learners work best in a „Zen-like‟ training environment, just like hypersensitivelearners. Color and style should be soothing and calming. Keep audio to a minimum, or choosenarration that‟s steady and calm. Whenever possible, give the learner choices with the actualvoice that‟s used in narrated e-learning.Employ focused and right-sized modules that they can easily complete in a series of shortsessions. The less overwhelming the total training seems, the more likely the hyperdistractiblelearner will engage in and complete their work. The key is to create learning that‟s to the pointand will hold their attention.Classroom training can sometimes be too distracting for these learners to maintain theirfocus. Consider self-paced segments they can complete in their own private workspacewith a headset. 11If the learner is hyperdistractible and auditory, allow them to repeat material aloud as Pagea memory aid. Provide notes in oral form so that they can listen to material after theyleave the classroom, too.
  12. 12. Hyperactive learners are often kinesthetic with a need to have physical activity incorporated in training. Name: Rosemary Age: 35 Profession: Call Center Agent Likes: Activities & interactions, working in groups, diagrams & charts, acting out scenarios12Page Dislikes: Sitting still for hours, long lessons
  13. 13. The Persona:Rosemary is 35-year-old call center agent, and she‟s a hyperactive learner. In heropinion, “training hell” is when she‟s forced to sit in a chair for hours upon hours, takingnotes and watching PowerPoint presentations. Any e-learning lesson that takes morethan 15 minutes to complete is guaranteed to lose Rosemary‟s attention, interest andability to retain the information. If there‟s an activity to complete or some interaction onthe e-learning screen, you can bet Rosemary will get involved—and learn the material.To effectively learn, she wants to work in groups, diagram on flipcharts and act out solutionsto scenarios. If there‟s not a break in her training, she will “zone out” and take her own mental break.The Approach:Much like the hyperimpulsive learner, hyperactive types need a learning medium that engages them physically.Many hyperactive learners are actually kinesthetic learners—they need movement and physical activity to learn best. If thereis a way to create a hands-on learning activity, use it throughout the training.Include training segments that involve group learning activities and role play whenappropriate. This fosters the physical and kinesthetic aspect of training.Since they often need to stretch or stand up to maintain interest, these learnersmay benefit from modules that allow them to take frequent breaks. Training modulesthat are perceived to be lengthy may actually result in inappropriate hyperactivityand distractibility. 13 Page
  14. 14. EXTREME LEARNER: CARE & HANDLING GUIDE To learn more visit these Learning AHEADTOMEBOTTMLINERES Style and Persona Websites: OURCES Considering the other angles  www.astd.org Personas can help you build a sound foundation when you need to create the very best training for your difficult  www.learning-styles- employees or coworkers and match their natural blueprint for learning. Other factors to include in your personas online.com include your learner‟s prior knowledge of the subject, age, and preference for specific media formats. Attempt to get  www.metamath.com/lsweb a „pulse‟ on your learner‟s style when you need to zero in on the most effective training approach. /dvclearn.htm  www.stylesoflearning.com Tips  www.stc.org The Michaels and Associates website (www.docntrain.com) offers free ideas for creating effective training beyond  www.tenfacesofinnovation. personas. Here are some of our tips: com  www.visualspatial.com  Identify learner needs, so you can produce customized training that boosts performance levels.  Identify any organizational issues that might impact training, so you can strategize how to overcome the  www.collegeathome.com/b obstacles. log/2008/06/10/100-  Identify learner behaviors that need to be changed, so you can effectively address them in training. helpful-web-tools-for-  Determine the direct performance path, so you don‟t waste time and money “over-training” unnecessary every-kind-of-learner tasks.  Determine the appropriate resources for your training project.  Establish best practices and standards for all future training projects.14Page
  15. 15. EXTREME LEARNER: CARE & HANDLING GUIDEWe hope this document helps identify the “difficult child” in your employee, coworker or client before launching your own training analysis.Not sure where to start? Drop us a line and well be glad to get you started. Michaels & Associates — learning without the mess. marketing@docntrain.com www.docntrain.com toll-free: 877-614-8440 15 Page

×