Inside scoop from our experts: Tailor education to appeal to all adult learning styles

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, October 20, 2009

This week, a reader asks about ensuring education reaches all styles of adult learners. Read the response from advisor Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN, owner of Avillion's Curriculum Design in York, PA.

Q: We have a large organization with many nurses to educate about our ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® journey. What are the best methods for reaching every nurse?

A: Ensuring that educational offerings appeal to a variety of learners will make your techniques much more effective:

  • Right brain vs. left brain: The right hemisphere of the brain is devoted to the creative aspects of learning and depends on music, visual stimulation, color, and pictures to process information. The left brain enables learners to deal with language, math, and problems requiring analysis. Right-brain learners process information holistically, seeing the big picture or the answer first, not the details. Left-brain learners process information in a linear manner, processing first from the parts and then to the whole.
  • Visual learners: Most adults are visual learners. They focus on using the sense of sight to learn, prefer quiet when concentrating, and take detailed notes. They benefit from the use of color, illustrations, and graphics as part of handouts, PowerPoint presentations, or computer programs.
  • Auditory learners: Auditory learners benefit more from hearing information than seeing it in written form and sometimes appear to not be paying attention, but are actively listening. They assimilate new knowledge and skills by describing the behaviors or facts, and absorb new information by reading aloud. They like verbal explanations from colleagues already familiar with a topic.
  • Tactile (kinesthetic) learners: These learners prefer hands-on learning activities, such as return demonstration and simulation, can facilitate learning by handling equipment and manipulating objects (e.g., flash cards), and acquire new knowledge best when accompanied by physical movement.

Editor's note: Do you have a question for our experts? If you would like us to consider your query for publication, please e-mail it to senior managing editor Rebecca Hendren at

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