Failing to address any of the four learning styles will likely diminish the impact of your content. More importantly, the four styles are interdependent; in that type, three and four learners cannot optimally connect with the lesson without having first experienced content aimed at type one and 2 learners. In addition, addressing each learning style also offers something for everyone, regardless of that person has preferred style of learning.
Structuring your writing or presentations with this cycle in mind can make you a more effective communicator.
Besides targeting the largest learning style group, starting your content with the reason why the information is of value is a foundational element of the rest of the piece. It is also critical for attracting attention. This is why your headline and opening paragraphs must quickly and clearly express a practical benefit to the reader, and why presentations must grab attention immediately before getting into substance.
Now we come to what analytic learners call the meat—the features of a product and the supporting data. In other words, they want cold, hard facts and analysis. This phase of your content naturally follows the statement of the “why,” and failing to properly segue into phase two by dwelling on too much fluff up front will hurt you with these people, as well as bog down your overall delivery.
Once common sense learners have heard the why and the what, they are ready to dive in and learn—by doing. While it is tough for people to get hands on when reading or listening, you can appease the how crowd with specific examples and illustrations of how things work in the real world. Case studies and other concrete scenarios bring things together for the common sense learner, and add extra understanding to the innovative and analytic learner.
- What If
The dynamic learner has absorbed everything offered so far, and has been sitting there wondering what would happen if x is modified, or what if I did y instead because my situation is slightly different? These are the people who shine during Q and A at a presentation, who take the time to email a question to the author, and who leave comments requesting clarification or offering up their own illustrations in order to sharpen their understanding. Having an interactive online presence completes the learning cycle, and allows the conversation to spread onto other blogs and social media sites.