Three Learning Domains
Career coaches should have a basic understanding of how adults learn and process information. To understand adult learning, Career coaches must gain knowledge in a few key areas including learning domains, learning styles, and how and why adults learn.
Most adults, adolescents, and children learn best by experiencing a blend of activities that promote the three learning domains: cognitive, affective, and behavioral. Cognitive refers to knowledge or a body of subject matter, affective refers to attitudes and beliefs, and behavioral refers to practical application.
Three Learning Styles
Different learning styles need to be considered when establishing the most appropriate development activity, educational requirements, and/or reading to meet that style. Generally, three different learning styles exist: visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic. Visual learners learn through seeing, auditory learners through hearing, and tactile learners through touching, moving, and doing. Experts agree that people possess all three styles but that one is dominant. See Table 2.1 for an overview.
Visual Learners—Seeing is Believing
Visual learners tend to learn by looking, seeing, viewing, and watching. They need to see the CM’s facial expressions and body language to fully understand the content of a session, and tend to sit very close to the CM to avoid visual distractions. They tend to think in pictures and learn best from visual displays. During coaching sessions, they tend to take detailed notes to absorb information. The following tips have proved helpful to CMs when working with visually oriented people (see Figure 2.2).
- Using visual materials, such as pictures, charts, maps, and graphs
- Ensuring a clear view/close proximity so the client can see the CM’s body language and facial expressions
- Using color to highlight important points in text
- Ensuring clients/employees take notes or provide handouts
- Illustrating ideas as pictures or brainstorming bubbles before writing them down
- Writing a story and illustrating it
- Using multimedia, such as computers, videos, and filmstrips
- Recommending illustrated books
- Helping clients visualize information as pictures to aid memorization
Auditory Learners—Talking and Listening
Auditory learners tend to learn by listening, hearing, and speaking. Auditory learners learn best through lectures, discussions, and brainstorming. They interpret the underlying meaning of speech by listening to voice tone, pitch, speed, and other speech nuances. Written information has little meaning to them until they hear it. They benefit best by reading text out loud and using a tape recorder. Auditory learners can benefit from the following techniques.
- Participating in Career Coaching discussions/debates
- Making speeches and presentations
- Using a tape recorder during sessions instead of taking notes
- Reading text out aloud
- Creating musical jingles to aid memorization
- Creating mnemonics to aid memorization
- Discussing ideas verbally
- Dictating to someone who writes down their thoughts
- Using verbal analogies and storytelling to demonstrate points
Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners—Hands On
Kinesthetic learners learn best through a hands-on approach and actively exploring the physical world around them. They have difficulty sitting still for long periods of time, and easily become distracted by their need for activity and exploration. Tactile/kinesthetic learners can benefit from the following techniques.
- Taking frequent study breaks
- Moving around to learn new things (i.e., reading while on an exercise bike, or molding a piece of clay to learn a new concept)
- Working in a standing position
- Chewing gum while studying
- Using bright colors to highlight reading material
- Dressing up work space with art
- Listening to music while studying
- Skimming through reading material to get a rough idea what it is about before settling down to read it in detail