type of learners, learning styles, 7 type of learners, learning styles for onboarding

7 types of learners and learning styles

The recruitment process costs a lot in terms of time, resources, and money as the responsibility of picking the best and brightest among a pool of talents is no easy feat.

However, after making your selection, how costly would it be to lose them through preventable loopholes?

Neglecting your new employee onboarding or pre-boarding program after their recruitment means you don’t have a plan for what happens next. At the end of the day, you’re leaving things to chance, and the serious-minded ones among your recruits will ask to get out before you even realize something was missing in the entire process.

According to a study by Deloitte, 4% of new hires quit after a catastrophic first day, while 22% of turnover occurs within the first 45 days. Research by Wynhurst Group has shown that employees are 58% more likely to stay in an organization after three years if their onboarding was done right.

While there’s a lot of benefits to doing onboarding right, there are also consequences when it is done wrongly or not at all. It can cost about $37 billion/year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). This includes the costs incurred due to the new employees’ inadequate understanding of “company policies, business processes, job function, or a combination of the three.”

It is, therefore, important that HR Managers, Talent Acquisition Managers, and CXOs discover a way to compress the time it takes for a new employee to attain his or her full potential. Doing so will also save co-workers and line managers time, reduce the costs of learning on the job, and also make a new talent feel valued.

The question then is, how do they achieve this objective? And the answer is quite straightforward; it is by adopting the proper type of learning styles for employee onboarding on an individual basis.

We all know that people learn in various ways. Some learn by reading the manual, some by calling technical support, some by clicking around, and some by diving right into their first task. It is essential to allow new hires to acclimatize themselves to your feature, product, or work environment through their natural learning style.

It is the management’s responsibility to ensure that they reach each new hire, no matter their learning style. They have to go beyond merely delivering the right information to observing how the information is provided, for it is by the latter, they can understand whether or not it reaches its targeted audience.

7 types of learners

Indeed, people respond differently to a new feature or product. If you want to understand your new hires better, you need to know the learning style that resonates with them. Only then can you strategize on ways to get the best of them.

Anything else is just an understandable gamble that will soon wear you and the talent out. Nothing frustrates a driven employee like being underutilized. Speaking to them in a language they understand, which is their specific learning style will give better insight into their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of passion.

  1. Visual Learners

    Visual learner employees learn by what they can see and visualize. They benefit the most from diagrams, charts, and photos in any PowerPoint presentation integrated into your onboarding process. Even when you give handouts, visual learners may be inclined to highlight, circle, or mark up any point of interest to remember it. Visual learners are the least responsive to listen-and-respond situations.

  2. Auditory Learners

    Auditory learner employees process information by hearing and repeating it to themselves or others. They gain the most from storytelling, lectures, or word association – as long as it involves listening. They’re also good at following up through Q&A sessions or group discussions. Auditory learners don’t gain much from visual presentations and notes.

  3. Reading / Writing Learners

    New hires learn best through interaction with information by reading or writing it. Although they also benefit from visual or verbal information, they internalize it better by reading and writing it. They are good with quizzes or questionnaires after the presentation. They also take extensive notes throughout the onboarding process.

  4. Kinesthetic Learners

    Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. It is not enough to sit and watch or listen. They want to experience the information. They’re the type that quickly grows restless during lengthy presentations. They benefit most from participating in group challenges and activities, touring the office, and shadowing other employees.

  5. Logical or Mathematical Learners

    These types of new hires have to classify or categorize things. They also tend to understand numbers and equations and patterns better than others. These are scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and other technical professions.

  6. Interpersonal Learners

    These new hires learn by relating to others. They are the type that work best in teams, share stories, and compare their ideas to that of others. In a way, they come up with their ideas through the input of other people. They are usually good leaders and team players. They’re best found in fields like psychology or social sciences.

  7. Intrapersonal Learners

    The intrapersonal learner works and learns best in solitude. They set challenging individual goals and are predominantly motivated by internal forces. They’re usually introverted and found in creative fields. They may also become entrepreneurs and small business owners as long as they can work without direct supervision.

Types of Learning

  1. Instructional Learning

    There are different learning styles for employee onboarding. It is why we have the widespread notion of people having a dominant learning style. However, these popular learning styles have created myths about instruction in the workplace. As real as it is that there are different types of learning techniques, there is something generic about how we learn, regardless of individual preferences.

    The fields of instructional design and educational psychology support the notion that when it comes to active learning in onboarding, new hires learn best when instruction is tailored to the type of content being taught and not necessarily the learning style a new hire identifies with.

    Ultimately, learning is flexible, and the learning style that may be effective for a particular set of instructions may have more to do with the teaching itself than the learner. This means that the same person who benefits the most from auditory learning for a particular task may help the least if the same style is used to convey another task.

    It is essential for HR Managers, Talent Acquisition Managers, and CXOs to understand the individual learning style of their new hires and then also understand the learning styles in regard to their job description, company policies, and business processes. Two concepts from education that help to tackle the limitations of traditional learning styles are self-directed learning and scaffolding.

  2. Self-Directed Learning

    Self-directed learning is a comprehensive concept that suits the situation of an adult learner who finds themselves in a digital environment with access to an enormous volume of information on the web.

    In this style of learning, the learner would take it as their responsibility to diagnose their learning needs, formulate learning goals, identify human and material resources for learning, choose and implement appropriate learning strategies, and evaluate learning outcomes.

    Self-directed learning helps the new hire to get up to speed on their product. But, when a new employee struggles to navigate the vast amounts of information, they often have to waddle through information overload. It may drive them to feel overwhelmed without the anchor that self-direction provides.

  3. Scaffolding

    There is a way for self-directed learners to swim in the sea of information, and it is through the educational principle of scaffolding. Scaffolding thrives on the idea that new hires learn by being assisted whenever they try to work on new tasks. Their instructor then withdraws gradually as their proficiency grows. In an onboarding or pre-boarding scenario, there are several opportunities and options for scaffolding, and the instructor also takes several forms.


If you have the type of learning style that works for your new hires, you can begin to apply it in the onboarding sessions to make the new talents a staple in your organization.

Understanding various learning styles will help you to understand new concepts faster and with greater ease. There is no wrong way to learn. You must design an onboarding and pre-boarding scheme that applies to all your new hires regardless of how unpopular they may seem.

Note that many of your recruits may be ignorant of the learning style that works best with them. You also have to give room for self-exploration before diving into the depth of your program. It is when each new hire knows how they learn that they will develop interests they hadn’t thought of exploring before. It all means that it may be a substantial initial investment, but with such upfront investment, you can be sure to a large extent that your new pool of talents is for keeps.

Moreover, teaching is only part of what onboarding and pre-boarding achieve. In the bigger picture, it is about building a sustainable organization where everyone contributes their bests to the growth and development of the said organization. It is a way of establishing a structure that can withstand unfavorable economic tides. It is about building to last.

Looking to engage your employees based on their learning styles Check How

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