Learner Types in a Training Setting

Corporate training may seem luxurious as a profession. Dressing up well and talking nice seem to work, and this creates an interesting picture. But in reality training isn’t what it seems to be. It requires energy to facilitate, an active mind to cope with the circumstances, flexibility with the changes, will to endure the outcomes, and persistence to go on despite the many challenges.

One of the things that require so much skill in training aside from verbal and written communication, the ability to design training, and the manner to conduct a program is the acumen for knowing the learners. Knowing the type of people who will be participating in a training program is necessary to achieve effectiveness. This takes some psychology and instinctual figuring out by means of social interaction.


The Sponge

This type of learner just absorbs everything taught. This learner can adjust with the changes and the volume of information provided. There isn’t much of an issue with this individual.

The Know-it-all

There are those participants who bring so much experience in training. This experience makes them confident in sharing so much in class despite unsolicited answers. How to deal with this kind of learner may take time and proper control. Trainers must take advantage of any experience or knowledge from this individual so long as it is relevant in training. If not, trainers must maintain a sense of control so as not to veer from the essential training topic.

The Social Butterfly

The type of learner is definitely sociable. Being with people encourages him or her to learn more. Collective or group learning works out well for this individual. A good way to design training is by coming up with group activities so as to encourage collaborative learning. This learner may lose the eagerness if socialization is omitted from the learning environment.

The Pacifier

In a group, there will always be that particular individual who will be the mid-person to everybody, who will keep the mood easy, who will keep everyone at ease with the rest, and who just thinks there is nothing wrong about any issue. The pacifier tends to stay mid-ground with the goal of keeping everything grounded. This learner usually accepts what is taught. There are no questions asked.

The Laid-back

The Laid Back seems to be unperturbed by anything around him or her. There may be no sense of urgency in training. His or her goal is different from the rest. The idea of learning may not be the best option. Trainers must be wary of how to drive this individual. By getting into the values and priorities of this person, one may get insight on how to deal with issues.


The Competitive

It is inevitable to find a learner who wants to get past anybody. Recognition and rewards matter to him or her. Learning is a means to be on top. Stack ranking in performance by means of metrics or scores will be a good way to deal with the learner. Rewards and recognition will ignite the feeling of achieving all the more.

The Tabula Rasa

While some learners may have what it takes to perform, the Tabulasa Rasa may seem to have everything, but upon performance, he or she tends to forget everything. Everything is asked from the smallest detail. This learner tends to just throw everything out of the window. This individual could not seem to connect knowledge to performance. Trainers need to be hands-on in this case. There should be close monitoring of learning and application. Knowledge should be clearly bridged to application.

The Cool

The goal  of this kind of learner is to appear nice, pretty, smart, and cool to all. The manner of speech and non-verbal manifestations will help determine this behavior. Often times, this is complex as trainers need to please and at the same time provide feedback. Trainers need to provide feedback publicly without calling out specifically on this learner. The Cool needs to realize to be up-to-date and learned along with the group in order to stay in the cool state.

The Speculator

Every trainer will encounter a defiant. This is the Speculator. This learner questions almost every detail. The goals is simply to find fault or mistake in the process. This may tend to be a little exhaustive as this invites negativity in the learning environment. But the trainer may encourage forums or discussions that will arrive at a more reconciling and settling idea that will keep the group together.

The Loner

This learner tends to be introverted. He or she prefers to learn alone. He or she keeps everything to himself. Trainers may deal with this better by seating the learner beside a more interactive and sociable individual. Loners tend to respond back. Letting them lead groups will make them feel they have a sense of contribution in the process, thereby empowering them. They will apparently share their insights more comfortably.


Training cannot be the easiest job there is. Learning about the participants can be tedious. But this actually becomes a benefit as a more strategic means of figuring out things.

Photo Credit: [Featured photo: www.onlinenewsplanet.com, collegewebeditor.com, www.mundodastribos.com, www.rahulrajmastertrainer.in


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