Compliance Training for Different Learning Styles

By Jennifer Benson
VP of Compliance, Interactive Compliance Training

No matter how advanced a training program is, it will always achieve less that satisfactory results if it targets the wrong learning style for a given employee. While various experts identify learning styles differently, the most widely recognized classification separates learners — young and old — as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.

Although anyone can learn regardless of the presentation or learning style, most people have a primary and secondary style. Trainers must therefore have the knowledge and ability to tailor compliance training material so that each member is learning in either their primary or secondary style.


Visual learners comprehend most readily when they can see or read. Traditional training styles target visual learners by including pictures, diagrams, graphs and other diverse elements. Introducing variations into texts and online training programs actively engages visual learners’ brains, giving them the necessary tools to retain and access the information.


Auditory learners understand best when they can associate information with sounds, whether words or music. The ease and simplicity of oral training has traditionally made this teaching style the most popular, and it continues to be a popular and effective option for many learners. In order to maximize the effectiveness of this training method, however, it is imperative to include diverse elements, thereby ensuring all auditory learners have a firm grasp of the material.


Perhaps the least understood and used of the teaching styles, kinesthetic learning requires creative use of action learning. As some studies show nearly 50 percent of learners excel by mimicking and other actions, it is imperative that trainers learn to target these individuals. Action learning tends to make many people uncomfortable, but ensuring comprehension and retention calls for its inclusion.

Training, already an under-rated hiring incentive, is further devalued when the training programs fail to reach all learners equally. Investing in diverse compliance training requires several steps:

  1. Finding appropriate software and training programs
  2. Teaching trainers the importance and methods of working with all learning styles
  3. Testing employees to determine their primary learning style
  4. Creativity to reach each employee equally

With knowledge and dedication, overcoming this important challenge results in increasingly effective compliance training and demonstrative long-term benefits.

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Jennifer Benson is a VP of Compliance Learning for Interactive Compliance Training (ICT), an online compliance learning library. Jennifer writes on various topics pertaining to corporate compliance training, with a special focus on compliance within the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry. She can be reached at or by phone at 631-559-9800.