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Four Doorways to the Heart
by Tom Goodman
December 18, 2008

 Note:  LeaderLines will not be published the next two Thursdays.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

There are four primary doorways the mind uses to obtain information.  Some people are visual learners, some are auditory learners, some are experiential learners, while others are independent learners.  While everyone learns through all four of these doorways, we have a strong preference for one or perhaps two.

As a leader, you need to be sensitive to this.  A teacher needs to design his lessons, and a leader needs to design her presentations to "enter" these various "doorways."

VISUAL LEARNERS acquire information through the eye door.  They prefer to read books, newspapers and magazines and they like viewing information over the TV by watching live programs or pretaped videos.  They like watching others work and perform so they can see how things are done.  They prefer to work with visual aids such as photographs, computer screens, charts, graphs and handouts.  They like seeing pictures, paintings, and movies and are often focused on how information is organized and presented, preferring it to be logical and sequential.

AUDITORY LEARNERS acquire information through the ear door.  They prefer to listen to others talk in person and through the radio, TV, and tapes.  They like music and are good at remembering lyrics and specific sounds.  They are also good at remembering names and details because they are naturally good listeners who focus on others when they are talking.  They often prefer to hear more than one opinion before deciding on something, and they learn best when they can hear key points repeated several times.

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNERS acquire information through the kinesthetic or "moving, touching" door.  They prefer to touch things as they are learning about them.  They are very people-oriented and like learning with groups of people.  They want to be allowed to be active while learning.  This means they especially like to talk and move their hands and legs during the learning process.  They also love to hear the leader tell stories and jokes to illustrate their learning points.

INDEPENDENT LEARNERS acquire knowledge through any of the above doors they choose.  They strongly prefer to learn without assistance from others.  They prefer to take things apart and put them back together; to work alone rather than with others; to learn quickly rather than slowly; and to be in charge of what is being learned or taught.  They are very goal-oriented and want to know how what is being learned can help them to reach their goals.  If learning is not linked to their goals, they often "tune out."

Now which of those four is your preferred learning style?  We typically teach or lead in the manner we prefer to be taught or led!  To increase your effectiveness, try to identify the preferred learning style of others, and send your information through all four doorways!


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