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Presentation and Learning Style

 

Techniques Public speaking > Public Speaking Articles > Presentation and Learning Style

Preferences | Methods | See also

 

Preferences

Different people have different learning styles, which means they take in information and make sense of it in different ways. For example:

  • Some prefer facts and statistics
  • Some would choose personal examples
  • Some like definitions and explanations
  • Yet others learn best from the use of presentational aids

This is a problem for presenters who need to get through to everyone. In practice, the best approach is often to vary your style to cover all bases.

A useful system to help focus your presentational style is Kolb's Learning Styles. Methods for addressing each of the four dimensions are given below.

Methods

Here are suggested methods you can use to address learning styles, based on the Kolb model.

Concrete experience

For those who have a sensory approach to life, give them something 'solid' to consider, for example you can:

  • Tell stories about your own or others' experiences.
  • Talk about recent news stories.
  • Physically act out what you are describing.

Reflective observation

Other people are more reflective, spending more time in fitting what they see and hear into internal models. Things you can do for these 'watchers' include:

  • Provide facts, figures and statistics.
  • Show how your ideas fit with existing ideas and models.
  • Include consideration from other viewpoints.

Abstract conceptualization

Beyond fitting the world to existing internal models, some enjoy dreaming up new models that fit even more closely with their discoveries. You can hook in these thinkers in these ways:

  • Explore the concepts behind your ideas. 
  • Include a deeper analysis of the subject.
  • Criticize existing models and explanations.

Active experimentation

Finally, some people see themselves as the 'doers' of life, who like to get their hands on and try things for themselves. Things you can do with them include:

  • Involving them in activities and experiments.
  • Telling stories of your own experiments, including data about the results.
  • Interpellate or draw them into a story where they can imagine themselves enacting parts.

See also

Kolb's Learning Styles

 

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