Teaching and training are an integral aspect of a quality internship experience. Understanding your learning style and the learning style of your intern can be helpful in establishing a strong, productive working relationship. A person’s learning style is how they best receive information, process it, evaluate it, and make immediate use of it or store it in their short or long term memory.
Everyone has a mix of different learning styles but most have a dominant or preferred style of learning. Your preferred learning style guides both the way you learn and teach. Your communication style – the way you recall and share information – is dependent upon your dominant learning style.
There are three main types of styles in which individuals are often categorized under when it comes to learning – visual, auditory, and tactile.
- Visual Learners best learn new skills by seeing and best learn new information best through visuals methods such as reading, diagrams, handouts, charts, maps, and graphics.
- Auditory Learners best learn through hearing or verbal communication such as lectures, recordings, reading aloud, and repeating new information aloud.
- Tactile Learners (kinesthetic) best learn by hands on methods – touching, feeling, and experiencing that which they are trying to learn.
Utilize seeing, hearing, and doing in the delivery of information as well as in the assignment of projects and tasks. Your ultimate goal as an internship manager is to incorporate a combination of strategies that will help your intern understand and implement new information quickly and efficiently.
A few more tips:
- Don’t assume your intern has prior knowledge in a subject
- Establish an open door policy so that your intern feels comfortable asking questions
- Establish benchmarks and milestones
- Regularly check in with your intern as they complete assignments
Nicki Sanders, The Packaged For Success Coach, is an Adjunct Professor with an extensive background in developing and managing internship programs. She is a skilled program manager, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Masters of Social Work degree and 20 years of work experience into Packaged For Success, a full service training and professional development company.
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