How to Utilize Learning Styles in Staff Training – (Works with Family Too!)

Are you frustrated that your staff misses things they’ve been trained to do?

Do you find that your staff is inconsistent with job performance, sometimes overlooking (what you thought were) basic items?

Do you lack patience with staff training?

Is training one of your least favorite ‘jobs’ as a business owner?

Do you wonder what you can do differently to help new (and old) staff be a better employee?

Do you want to have happy, consistent, reliable, long term, and EFFECTIVE staff?

Do you desire to increase customer satisfaction?

If you answered YES to any of the above, keep reading! There’s help below.

Training staff can be an arduous task. Why is this such a challenge? One reason is that people are  individuals motivated by very different things. Another reason is that people learn in very different ways.

Below I explain the three learning styles, how you can incorporate them into your on-boarding and training to alleviate some of the frustrations above. Your employees will gain confidence, be more successful, gain a positive attitude, and your business (and customers) will benefit!

Auditory Learners

  • These people learn information when its spoken.
  • Auditory learners enjoy lectures, discussions, and reading aloud (see Abraham Lincoln below).
  • They might seem crazy when you think they’re talking to themselves. Ha! Most likely no, they’re simply working on retention.

Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

  • These folks prefer to be active and learn through movement
  • Kinesthetic learners like to physically move through the information.
  • Writing helps this type of learner well.

 Visual Learners

  • Visual learners learn best when they see the information.
  • They think in pictures.
  • Prefer to see things written.
  • Graphs, charts, card, and visual representations and photos are very effective.

I read in an Abraham Lincoln biography that he would drive his office mates nutty because he incorporated as many learning styles as possible when he was studying. He would pace about the room reading texts out loud to himself, gesturing about wildly. For his office mates needing to concentrate on a project this was utterly disturbing!

The more learning styles we can incorporate into training, the more effective and efficient our training will be.

We teachers and trainers tend to stick to the auditory manner of teaching. Why? Quite frankly, it’s fast and easy. Telling people what to do – this takes the least amount of effort on the part of the trainer. Combine this lazy mistake with the fact that it takes an AVERAGE of 7 repetitions to learn something and it’s clear why employees make mistakes.

This bears repeating:

 It takes an average of
seven repetitions to learn something.

Most likely we’re:

  1. Not delivering information not in a way that is conducive to their learning.
  2. We are expecting one or two repetitions to achieve mastery.
  3. We are not making learning fun!

‘How To’ Example:


  • Create a checklist of to do items in rooms. (visual)
  • Create a checklist for what products to use where. (visual)
  • Create a fun video training for new hires to watch. Make it fun, quirky, use your own staff, maybe put some “don’t s” in there. Have fun with it! (visual, auditory)
  • Have a place for the employee to initial the training checklist after they’ve read it and encourage them to read it aloud. Place somewhere in your training materials that the employee keeps the 7 Repetitions fact. (visual, auditory)
  • During training have the new hire observe cleaners working and have the housekeeping talk about what they’re doing while they’re doing it. (Please so this more than once – how many times on average does it take to achieve mastery?) (visual, auditory, some kinesthetic)
  • Have new hires practice cleaning with a supervisor. (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
  • Purposefully stage a room with some errors. Have the new hires play Scavenger hunt. (visual, kinesthetic, and fun)
  • During training place a reminder card and fun surprise in rooms – a mini candy bar with a note saying “thank you Mark for checking behind this door! It’s most often missed”. You can place the fun surprises in places that are most often overlooked or tend to need the most repetition. This will accelerate learning AND give your employee a perk! (visual, kinesthetic and just fun)

Remember starting a new job can be a stressful anxious time. We, as employers want to set our staff up for success. They’ll feel valued and an important part of your team. This translates into so many positives!

  • Higher Self Esteem
  • Happier More Productive Team Member
  • Positive Reflection to Your Guests
  • They Market Your Business as a Place They’re Proud to Work
  • Take More Care of Property, I.E. Vacuums, Doors, Tools, etc.
  • They’ll Go the Extra Mile Making Sure the Job is Well Done

When you created your on-board and training for your new hires (and revisiting training for staff), take five minutes and go through your checklist and do these items.

  1. Write a V when the training piece is Visual
  2. Write a K when the training piece is Kinesthetic
  3. Write an A when the training piece is Auditory
  4. Write an F when you’ve inserted some FUN into the process
  5. At the bottom fill in the number of V’s, K’s, A’s, F’s you’ve tallies AND make note of how many repetitions you’ve given to help the employee achieve mastery.

Set yourself and your employees up with a realistic training and on-boarding process that will ensure confidence, success, reliability, and precision in work. It’s up to you! Contrary to Star Wars, we do not learn through osmosis – unfortunately we are not Jedi (or Yoda). Yet. . .

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