Corporate training can come in a variety of different methods. This is important because people learn in different ways, meaning that there is no “one-size-fits-all” model for training. Typically, the most successful training programs follow the VARK model for training shown below:





VARK is a great approach for training programs because it incorporates the main ways individuals interpret information. Maybe you are someone who likes to listen to podcasts, or you could be someone who enjoys watching videos or documentaries. Sometimes, due to the nature of the work or knowledge, it’s better to physically memorize how your body is supposed to accomplish a task. The importance of these characteristics is that nobody is exclusively one of these, which is why any successful training program will have some element of all four.

Visual learning relies on being able to see or visualize the knowledge or concept to understand it. Therefore graphs, charts, dashboards, and other types of visual data representation are so prevalent in training models. People who learn this way appreciate being able to see the knowledge. Examples of this could be pictures of each stage of a product as the product is assembled. If movement across a workspace or process is required, maps are valuable tools to visualize the flow of movement.

Auditory training helps those who learn best by listening to the knowledge. Language is one of the most powerful tools humans have at their disposal, so it makes sense that we interpret information auditorily. Often, auditory learning accompanies the other types of learning styles because the instructions or training is being given by an instructor or video explaining the content. By hearing information, we can process what was said and put our own understanding of the language around the concept. This learning style helps us to contextualize the other learning styles as well.

Reading and writing information is another way we interpret information because both functions have overlap with Visual and Kinesthetic learning styles. Therefore, the standard education model in the United States university system is a professor lecturing (auditory) in front of a lecture hall full of students. The professor may write information on a blackboard or have slides in a presentation (visual) so that the students can see and hear the information. Good students take notes, which is an example of the reading/writing learning style because they are reading and recording the information being presented while also listening to it. 

In training models, we often see notes or encourage notes to be taken because writing information down is another way of processing data. The physical act of writing down information can also be viewed as a Kinesthetic model of learning.

The Kinesthetic model of learning involves absorbing information by the performance of that task the information seeks to instruct on. We all know people who “learn by doing.” Some jobs require kinesthetic training, such as paramedics, firefighters, or military. Kinesthetic learning is also referred to as “muscle memory” because the point of this learning style is to make the knowledge a memorized task that doesn’t require much pre-thought before successful execution.

As I mentioned, humans absorb knowledge in all these ways, but we still have preferences for receiving that information. Therefore, successful training programs rely on all four of these styles of learning to provide knowledge to employees. A training module or presentation could have visual examples in graphs, pictures, process maps, etc., and while visualizing the information a lecturer or recording is explaining the concepts. There may be “knowledge checks” where the trainee is required to attempt to perform the task they were just instructed on or quizzing to have the participant write in concepts to ensure knowledge transfer.

At netlogx, our internal Six Sigma Green Belt training is characterized by these four different styles. The other instructors and I guide the participants through slide decks that explain the concepts (auditory/visual) and we provide notes to the participants for their own individual markup (reading/writing). There is homework that the participants need to complete each week involving the formulas and concepts (reading/writing/kinesthetic). Finally, after completion of the exam, the participants need to complete a Green Belt project utilizing the tools and formulas they just learned (kinesthetic). 

Training and successful training programs are all about providing the skills and knowledge to employees in ways that will allow them to master concepts quickly and empower them to be successful in their roles long term. Being able to tailor that delivery in the best way for all people is a great starting point when creating training programs. Utilizing the VARK model will ensure that those trainings have the maximum impact on the right people at the right time.