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[Infographic] What is Multimodal Learning?

Learning and development (L&D) is one of organizations’ top priorities. The only problem? Creating a multimodal learning environment that considers your team’s different needs isn’t easy. 

Training materials need to be fit for purpose. The plan you put together won’t suit all employees. Not everyone learns the same way, at the same speed. 

When you create training and resources that cater to individuals with different learning styles,  you help team members stay engaged, increase knowledge retention, and uplevel your entire team. Here’s how to leverage multimodal learning and create a development plan for your team.

What is multimodal learning?

Multimodal learning uses multiple modes or methodologies to teach a concept. Instructors create materials to employ different learning styles like visual, reading, auditory, writing, and kinesthetic.

Multimodal learning includes teaching methods that engage multiple sensory systems simultaneously. 

The importance of multimodal learning

Because individuals absorb material differently, multimodal learning can help team members feel more connected to lessons and content by engaging multiple learning styles. 

Additional multimodal learning benefits include:

  • Keeps learners engaged. Incorporating multiple methodologies enables learners to absorb and retain content despite their learning styles
  • Allows learners to apply the teaching to real-life situations. This can help learners connect with the content and increase adoption and retention
  • Multimodal learning provides variety, allows instructors to be creative with course content, and makes learning fun

Types of multimodal learning

The VARK Framework and how to implement it

Multimodal learning is based on the VARK model, which helps you understand how individuals learn and retain information. Although most people benefit from a mix of learning styles, most tend to have one dominant style. 

  • Visual: This type of employee learns best by seeing images and information. Visual learners have good visual memory. Effective visual learning resources include multimedia content like flowcharts, flashcards, and images with different fonts and colors, emphasizing text.
  • Auditory: Auditory learners retain information from listening and speaking. Also known as verbal learners, ask questions to engage this type of employee. Effective strategies include group discussions, podcasts, recordings of meetings, and debates.
  • Reading/writing: These team members prefer to take in and receive information displayed as text. The best learning methods include essays, user manuals, handouts, listicles, and noticeboard information.
  • Kinesthetic: This is the most popular learning style. Kinesthetic team members learn best by doing things for themselves–often using their own experiences. Great strategies for kinesthetic learners include interactive role-playing, demonstrations, surveys, and field trips. 

Understanding how your team absorbs, makes sense of, and retains information will help you create a learning environment that supports and engages your employees with less frustration. You’ll also avoid investing time and resources into training that isn’t fit for purpose, which demoralizes and disempowers your employees, leaving them unfulfilled.

multimodal learning infographic

How to create a multimodal approach to learning

Once you’ve identified the most popular learning styles based on the VARK system, here’s how to create a multimodal learning environment that engages them.

  1. Find out your learning style split
  2. Produce videos with transcripts
  3. Host employee workshops and huddles
  4. Involve employees in developing learning programs
  5. Evaluate the success of your program
  6. Make employee well-being a priority

1. Find out your learning style split

The first step is to analyze your employees’ preferred learning styles. Not only does this help create an effective learning environment that all team members engage with, but it will also support how you communicate with your team.

Encourage employees who already know their learning style to share this information. For those that don’t, distribute the VARK questionnaire and spend some time analyzing your employees’ preferred style.

One learning style may be more popular than the rest. Use the results from the questionnaires as your foundation for creating an effective learning environment.

Let’s put this into practice and say an HR team produced an online training lesson—in video format—on how to use a meeting and goal-setting platform. A week later, three team members failed to pass an evaluation on how to use the platform. They prefer to learn kinesthetically (i.e. by doing.) Sitting down to watch a 30-minute video presentation wasn’t engaging for them; they could not focus and failed to take in the information. 

Provide online training with practical exercises to create a multimodal learning environment that caters to these team members. Though their training will still be online, it will include opportunities to test new learning and practice using real-life examples suited for visual and kinesthetic learners.

2. Produce videos with transcripts

Meeting the individual learning styles of your employees takes time, effort, and patience. Instead of producing materials in various formats, repurpose the content you have to cater to different learning styles. 

For example, when onboarding new staff and bringing them up to speed with compliance training, host a webinar, record it and produce a transcript. It caters to two learning styles—visual and reading—simultaneously without investing too much time in producing each format individually.

Once you’ve repurposed these training materials, choose an intuitive learning management platform that allows flexibility for different learning styles. WorkRamp, for example, allows you to upload videos, text, quizzes, and checklists to your online learning modules.

3. Host employee workshops and huddles

Some team members learn best through doing. Workshops and huddles are perfect for this type of kinesthetic learner. They help prevent employees from sitting down and concentrating for long periods.

Use a fun icebreaker exercise to get your employees moving around during workshops, or provide problem-solving exercises based on real-life situations.

For example, host a 30-minute training session where each team member updates passwords in real time if you’re training your team on cybersecurity. Recall previous examples in your workplace and use these as a format for learning. Leave space for questions and answers at the end, with plenty of opportunities for discussion that caters to kinesthetic and auditory learners.

4. Involve your employees in developing learning programs

Get your team involved to start conversations about the learning methods that best engage them. Engaged employees are 18 percent more productive than their peers. 

Remember: your employees are the people taking part in your learning programs. They’re bound to have great ideas that help fine-tune your learning environment, such as:

  • The preferred delivery method
  • The length of training
  • The best day and time to host training

Not only does involving employees in decisions surrounding your learning programs make them feel important, but it also makes them willing to contribute ideas that produce training materials your entire team enjoys.

5. Evaluate the success of your program

Do you know whether your learning environment encourages team members to participate in workplace L&D? Join the 27 percent of learning and development professionals who evaluated their programs last year and re-engaged employees by incorporating different learning styles.

Regularly collect feedback from your team and group their responses by learning style. For example, you may notice that kinesthetic learners don’t understand your workplace health and safety video content.

Reach out, ask, listen, evaluate, and check in regularly. It’ll create an effective multimodal learning environment based on employee preferences by making evaluation the norm, not the exception.  

6. Make employee well-being a priority

We’re in the era of the Great Resignation. Almost 33 million people have quit their jobs since April 2021, largely because they want better working conditions. Constant environmental changes since the pandemic increased anxiety for many employees.

Providing learning opportunities that don’t resonate with preferred styles doesn’t help motivate your workforce. Employees become unconfident and disengaged learners.  

Employee well-being should be at the heart of your learning environment. For example, online training allows employees to pace their learning based on existing commitments. Offer employees shorter, sharper learning experiences based on their preferred learning style that don’t compromise their wellbeing.

With the right mode of delivery, employees can master new skills and develop the strategies needed to support their well-being.

Create a multimodal learning environment 

Whether you’re training new hires or existing employees, a multimodal learning environment keeps the entire team up to date with skills and knowledge. Uncover how your team prefers to learn and make future training programs engaging, fun, and enjoyable for everyone.

All-in-One Learning Platforms, like WorkRamp, help employees find the content they need when they need it. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.

 

Elise Dopson

Writer

Elise Dopson is a freelance writer for B2B SaaS companies. She’s also the co-founder of Peak Freelance and mom to an adorable Spaniel pup.

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