Reach Your Learners Where They Are:
How to Use Games to Teach Different Learning Styles
Corporations; Government; K12 Education | By: Erin Patrick
How do we really learn best? Gone are the days when we could get an education, certification, or training and have all the information we need to succeed. Also, most of us do not have that ‘one job’ for the rest of our lives, so the learning focus is constantly shifting and changing. In addition, most learning is happening online or virtually, and one-sided lectures can quickly fall flat on that platform. For some of us, that is an exciting challenge to rise to, but if you’re responsible for delivering content or continuing education, that can also be an elusive target. In this blog, we’re going to discuss how you can use games in your training to engage the different learning styles for better learning outcomes as well as create an enriched learning environment that encourages more teachable moments.
What are the different learning styles in education?
One of the most popular and accessible theories (that is driven by science and research) is the VARK model, which identifies four types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. While we are all a combination of these different learning styles, depending on the context, we most likely have a prevailing method when we are passively learning.
Visual Learning Style
Individuals who prefer to take in information with less text and more graphics, maps, diagrams, charts, etc. They typically opt for a static image to a video, as patterns and shapes are important for a visual learner.
Auditory Learning Style
Individuals who prefer to learn information that is heard or spoken. They tend to process information after it’s received rather than thinking ideas through before. Talking, lectures, and group discussions can benefit these learning styles where they can explore a concept discursively.
Reading/Writing Learning Style
Individuals who prefer to consume information through words, whether they are via text in reading or writing, because to them, that has more impact than any kind of visual or auditory process. Written assignments on any given subject can be of great benefit for these learners.
Kinesthetic Learning Style
Individuals who prefer to learn by doing rather than listening or watching or writing. They need tactile experience to understand something better. On-the-job training with practice and examples would be the most powerful way for them to learn.
Why is this Important?
While it is not feasible to try to teach or train to each individual learning style in a group session, it is important for our delivery to embrace a variety of ways to access and engage these. Experiential learning also needs to be balanced with classroom sessions so there is the ability to apply the knowledge, which is what leads to long-term retention. This may also incorporate peer-to-peer learning that is project based in nature and in small teams, which also fosters social learning with opportunities to develop soft skills.
Do you know your learning style? Do you know your students' learning style? What if you could poll them for that information in a fun and disarming way? Enter gamification.
* Create a team building exercise for a live session using one of our team-based games where the teams have to work together to race to the moon, conquer the castle, or just win the most points with their knowledge. Allow for time for them to collaborate, strategize, and discuss their ideas. Check out our most recent seasonal game with one of our templates, called Moonshot. It is our Halloween Trivia Contest that also enters you in a chance to win a free license!
* Create self-directed learning modules that learners can access on their own time for continued education that is still interactive and participant centered. Whether they’re playing against the computer in a game or answering polling questions in a quiz, they are applying their knowledge and reinforcing learning objectives in an engaging way. Check out one of our self-paced templates called SPARK. We are using this as a feedback form to survey our clients, but it’s also a great tool to use as an interactive quiz.
* Create a live gaming session as a way to interrupt a lecture from some dry or dull content and quickly infuse life back into your session through some microlearning that allows your students to apply what they’ve learned so far and inform the rest of your session. Even situational learning can be repurposed into an interactive game that people will want to play. Check out our template called Catapult for a fun way to learn about Safety Compliance.
The following are a few technical tips and tricks that work directly in our templates in the BravoZone:
Use images, graphs, infographics, memes, gifs, etc in your preview slides, your questions, and your summary slides to reach your visual learners.
Include MP3 or MP4 files of an auditory clip to engage your auditory learners.
Upload a video showing a situational concept, technique, or issue and then have your learners answer with the correct process or identify it through a hotspot on an image marker for your kinesthetic learners.
Offer open-ended polling questions for your participants to write their assessment or recall their learning of the session for your reading/writing learners.
Ultimately, we want to create an environment where our participants feel empowered in their own learning style and have ownership of their learning process and career development. Whether that is through self-directed learning modules, team building exercises, or group lectures and discussions, offering a participant-centered experience that actively involves all learning styles is key. Gamification can help you achieve this by seamlessly becoming part of that training method that creates a bridge between the different learning styles- and having fun that your participants will want to come back for- while delivering some serious learning.
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