Have you ever heard the term “one size fits all”?

Jeff McLanahan
Contributing Writer
Contributor

My wife Jackie and I recently moved from the deep south (Texas) to the great north (Wisconsin).  To prepare for the move, we shopped for winter clothing including knit caps.  Many of these caps were labeled “one size fits all,” but I can certainly say that I did not find this to be true.

While one cap may have fit my wife very well, the same cap was snug on me and a cap that fit me perfectly would fit loosely on her.

When it comes to learning and development, we often attempt to create “one size fits all” training courses for our users.  We may work for a company that uses instructor-led training exclusively because it is believed that everyone in the industry learns best in this manner.  We may print student workbooks full of text for the user to read for training.  We may have even made the jump to e-learning and now believe that everyone can learn everything from this form of delivery.

Regardless of the topic being trained, people have individual learning preferences and these preferences are not all the same.  In fact, with many organizations having as many as five different generations in the workplace, individual learning preferences have never been more diverse.

With this in mind, when training needs to be developed for your team, allow for varied learning styles and preferences.  Some people prefer to be taught by a classroom instructor, while others will learn faster and more effectively with engaging online content.  Some want to get to the “hand-on” training as quickly as possible and some still prefer to learn by reading.  You may not be able to hit every single preferred learning style, but try to include several with each learning session.

While a “one size fits all” mentality may work for winter caps (although I would argue it does not), it is not conducive to effective training for everyone.

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