Learn How Your HVAC Team Learns
Posted on: August 25, 2016 | by: Will Housh
As a HVAC business owner, you’ll encounter countless situations where you’ll need to train your team. Whether it be a new product training, or adjusting to adhere to changing industry regulations, it’s your job to distribute the necessary information and conduct effective instruction so that your team is confident with the procedures they must follow and the rules they must know.
Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as simply passing out a sheet of paper containing the information. Your team is comprised of individuals, each with an individual learning style. Help your team learn by learning how they learn, and uncover methods of delivering information so it will be well-received and retained for the benefit of your business.
Learning Styles in a Nutshell
Whether you’ve realized it or not, you’ve likely uncovered your own learning style over your years in school and on the job. Perhaps you’ve found you comprehend information better when you listen to it, rather than read it. Maybe you have better retention watching a video on a subject rather than hands-on learning.
Learning styles are quite impactful – an individual’s learning style guides how they absorb, comprehend, retain, and recall information.
What Are the Learning Styles?
While there is some variation depending on particular educational theory, there are three basic learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
- Visual Learners best understand new information through images, videos, and graphics. The visual learning style also encompasses reading and writing, which some learning theories classify as a fourth style – visual learners may also learn best by reading information and writing notes. Color coding and written information is beneficial for these learners.
- Auditory Learners prefer listening and speaking to learn new information. These learners do well in lecture-type environments as well as group discussions, and benefit from using mnemonic devices and repetition study techniques.
- Kinesthetic Learners are hands-on learners who best understand new information by physical representations of the subject at hand, such as building a device to learn how it works, or drawing.
Benefits of Learning How Your HVAC Team Learns
Learning your own learning style as well as the styles of your team members is quite valuable professionally; its benefit isn’t limited only to educators. Recognition and an understanding of individual learning styles will aide you in more effective management of teams, and guide you in improving cooperation among members.
Your understanding of the learning styles of your team will allow you to deliver more effective presentations. It’s pretty much guaranteed that every member of your team will not have the same learning style – you need to adapt your delivery methods to ensure the vital information reviewed in your trainings and company meetings is well-received by every team member, not just a certain subset. You’ll learn which styles you’re dealing with and what tactics you must incorporate into your presentation to reach every player. It’s likely that you’ll need to create three-dimensional lessons to incorporate everyone’s learning style; you may feel comfortable developing your presentation based on your own personal learning style, then moving on to creating supplemental materials which will best aide your team.
Understanding one’s learning style is also valuable for each individual team member within your company. Identifying and learning about their learning styles can boost self-confidence, improves sales skills and persuasion, and helps the individual better take advantage of their natural skills.
Resources for HVAC Contractors
You’re not a teacher, you’re a contractor – how’s a tech turned business owner to know just how to assess the learning styles of their team members?
- Ask your team members to complete this self-assessment quiz, which will uncover their individual learning style. You should complete it as well!
This information should be used by yourself as well as trainers on your team, while also passed on to the team member themselves so they may better understand their learning style as well as what they can do to maximize their benefit of information they come across on the job.
Incorporating multiple learning styles
With a team of many and limited time to deliver important information, how can an HVAC contractor effectively and efficiently accommodate the individual learning styles of his or her staff? As you prepare information for a group training or meeting, work to incorporate elements beneficial for each learning style, or create supplemental learning materials which target each style.
- Present a lecture in conjunction with a PowerPoint-style presentation.
- Pass out a written outline of the material which will be presented prior to the training.
- Distribute products or relevant physical materials which can be manipulated during a lecture.
- Hold a group discussion on the subject after the information is presented.
- Ask questions of your team during the presentation over the material covered.
- When relevant, roleplay concepts with your team.
- Conduct a hands-on training after the initial delivery of information.
By learning your team members’ individual learning styles, you’ll learn how to best deliver information for maximized comprehension and retention. Adapting your informational delivery method and the methods used to conduct trainings to incorporate tactics which speak to all learning styles on your team will be a challenge in the beginning, but will make your trainings more effective while improving the knowledge and skill of your crew.
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