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Kinds of training

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Many people think of training as people sitting in rows in a classroom, and some training is like this. Other ways in which people can learn include:

  • work based learning: where people learn from supervisors, colleagues, manuals and trial and error on the job
  • distance and correspondence courses: learning using printed materials and submitting assessments by post
  • online learning: following a course using internet technology (Web). This can sometimes be just like following a printed text, and it may involve online assessment, interaction with tutors and other students, or simulations of various kinds.

Course format can include full-time, part-time, day or evening, and weekend programmes.

What are ‘learning styles?’

You may hear trainers talk about ‘learning styles’. Academic research has identified different ways in which people perceive and process information, and people’s preferences are termed ‘learning styles’. One commonly used version of learning styles includes these four:

  • auditory learners: learn best by listening and talking
  • visual learners: learn best by seeing, drawing and visualising things
  • tactile learners: learn best by doing, ‘hands on’
  • reflective learners: learn best by reflecting and thinking.

It may help learners to know that they might learn better using a different approach, and there are a variety of simple tests which assess individuals’ styles. However, there is no agreement among researchers about whether there really are different learning styles and how fixed they are.

What is ‘learning to learn’?

Everyone is capable of learning, but some people’s experience of formal instruction has persuaded them they can’t. When people succeed at learning they become more confident and more successful learners: they have ‘learned to learn’. That is why the people who train most are the people with the most education and training: they know they can do it, and have learned to enjoy it. Whatever the training, it is very important that people get a chance to succeed.

This site is for help and information only. It is not meant as an authoritative guide. It is not meant as an authoritative statement of the law, and future changes in the law and other programmes and initiatives could make it less accurate at times. TAEN, the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund take no responsibility for your use of the information. You should always take professional advice on any specific legal or financial matter.