Have you ever needed to memorise something, a presentation, or facts and figures for a test? You probably tried all sorts of techniques to try and retain the information, perhaps que cards, drawing diagrams or just simply reading the information over and over! In fact we all have a unique mix of learning styles and preferred ways of collecting ideas. Everyone has a unique mix of learning styles. Some people have a dominant style of learning and rely on only 1 – 2 techniques. Others may use different techniques in different situations. There is no correct or ideal mix, nor are learning style fixed. You can develop the ability to pick-up other learning styles, as well as further develop techniques that you already use. You may be surprised to hear that your DISC Style may also indicate the learning style that best suits you.
The DISC Profiles have different preferences and priorities when going through the learning process. Each of the four styles can be broken up into different areas of learning, much like the four quadrant model. These four different areas are, low and high action learning and high and low structure learning.
The High D Profile
D styles are high action orientated learners, practical situations or simulations are a great learning technique for the D styles. They thrive on a challenge and are likely to question the trainer, topic or methods. D styles prefer to learn independently and often through the process of trial and error. D styles are all about the ‘WIFM’ (what’s in it for me?). You’ll often hear them asking ‘what’ questions. D styles will be interested in knowing the agenda or what the learning expectations are.
The High I Profile
I styles are low structure learners; they prefer to learn without set processes or structure. They learn by sharing and through group exercises, especially those that allow them time to discuss and socialise. The ideal learning environment for the I style is one that involves group participation where they have the opportunity to express themselves and discuss with others. I styles also require a lot of visual aids. I styles ask the ‘who’ questions. You’ll hear them ask ‘who can I discuss this with?’ I styles prefer not to have a set frame-work for learning. Therefore, I styles are usually quite receptive to new ideas, theories and methods of learning. I styles prefer short, fast paced, and highly stimulating methods of learning.
The High S Profile
S styles are non-action oriented learners. As the opposite of the D styles, they prefer to listen or watch as a way of learning, rather than getting involved in activities. S styles learn by understanding each side or each approach. S styles may become confused if new knowledge contrasts to their current understanding. They take their time to collect and think about the information. S styles prefer to learn in logical steps, you’ll often hear them asking ‘how’ questions like ‘how do we go about this?’ S styles are receptive learners; they like to observe before applying the information in a practical setting.
The High C Profile
C styles are high structured ‘deep learners’, they require lots of time to think and collect information. They may need assistance to help them frame knowledge with their current understanding. C styles are the most precise and analytical of the DISC profiles, they appreciate having a learning guide and staying on schedule. C styles tend to ask ‘why’ questions, ‘why are we learning this way?’ ‘Why are we expected to learn this?’ Facts, statistics and other data are important to the C styles. They like to ask questions to ensure they have the correct information the first time.
Understanding the different Learning Styles
Understanding the different learning preferences and priorities is vital to maintain the best learning environment for company employees. Some form of training or coaching takes place in most workplace environments. Just as workplaces have a diverse range of employees, they also all have different learning styles. These learning styles provide an organisation’s leaders with valuable information to maximise time spent training and on-boarding new employees as well as developing the existing workforce.