The Three Dimensions of Learning
A large part of my job is explaining things to people. You can have the greatest technology in the world, but if you can’t explain to people why it is important, and how it will make a difference in their life or their business, then you have only done half the job.
That is why I am interested in different learning styles. One of the more widely-known models to describe different learning styles is Neil Fleming’s VAK/VARK model. Fleming postulates that there are three different types of learners: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. To vastly over-simplify Fleming’s work, some people learn best by seeing, others by listening and still others by touching and doing. While this might seem self-evident, understanding a student’s learning style can be a vital tool for teachers. Moreover, knowing your own learning style can significantly increase the amount you can learn and retain.
Of course, the model doesn’t have to be restricted to classroom education. For example, for the last several months, I have been talking about the benefits of the Cisco Unified Workspace as part of a mobility strategy. For you visual learners, I could tell you that the Cisco Unified Workspace strategy transforms the traditional concept of a workplace into a workspace that moves with employees. It unifies mobility, video, collaboration and any business applications an employee needs, and then makes them securely available on any device, with an uncompromised user experience. This, in turn, enables innovative new business models. I could then point you to our Cisco Unified Workspace webpage, where you could download whitepapers, case studies, analyst reports and all the other goodies that visual learners love.
Now, auditory learners prefer to sit back and absorb information. They like podcasts and lectures and discussions. For the auditory listeners, let me point you to this Cisco Unified Workspace demonstration video featuring my colleague Jiwan Grewal:
That leaves us with the kinesthetic learners. You are the folks that like to touch and poke and prod and do. I’ll admit it’s difficult to do that in a blog post. But, if you come to San Jose, California, we have a Cisco Unified Workspace live demonstration set up in our Executive Briefing Center. Or, if you are in Orlando in February, come see and interact with the Cisco BYOD and VXI Smart Solutions (key components of the Cisco Unified Workspace strategy) at the Gartner ITxpo 2012.
I’ll leave you with one interesting parallel between the VAK model and the Cisco Unified Workspace. The VAK model attempts for maximize learning by recognizing that different people have different learning styles; The Cisco Unified Workspace attempts to maximize efficiency and productivity by recognizing that different people have different work styles. Whether learning or business or life, one size does not fit all.