Hands-on learning styles drive success at Lawton

By C.A. Lawton | October 11, 2019

According to educator Edgar Dale, who invented the Cone of Experience, we retain about 20% of what we see, 40-50% of what we see and hear and 90% of what we see, hear and do. That’s why hands-on, experiential learning is a staple in employee success and satisfaction at The C.A. Lawton Co.

Although the learning process is complex and unique for every individual, human learning styles can be classified into three main categories: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. According to Forbes and the Herald Journal, among other sources, only 5% of people are primarily kinesthetic learners while 65% are visual learners and 30% are auditory learners. However, the majority of people learn most effectively through teaching methods that address a combination of these learning styles.

It’s for this reason that a hands-on approach to learning is so effective. Experiential, hands-on training combines all three learning styles to effectively teach and engage everyone. First, processes and expectations are demonstrated and described, then employees work alongside their trainer to get hands-on experience with their new tasks. Additionally, because studies have shown that tactile or kinesthetic learners are typically attracted to jobs in the trades, Lawton’s approach is highly effective for our employees.

Here’s what some of Lawton’s employees say about their learning styles and the training experience at Lawton:

Angie on being a hands-on learner: “You can sit here and talk to me all day long, and I’ll just sit there and look at you like ‘OK…?’ feeling pretty uncertain about the task at hand. I need to do it. That’s the only way I’m gonna learn.”

 Angie believes that if you feel the same way, you should try working in a trade. “I don’t even like watching for too long. I don’t like to shadow somebody for too long. There’s only so much value you can get out of that.”

We also spoke to Dani, a recent hire at Lawton, who is also a hands-on learner. “I started off in the cleaning room. I shadowed Jesus for the whole first day, but by 3 hours in, he had me working on the piece right next to him.”

Lawton employees aren’t the only ones who advocate for the effectiveness of a well-rounded, hands-on approach to learning. 52% of participants in a 2014 study of 1,011 adults, conducted by Everest College, advocated for hands-on training as the best method for teaching. In addition, 28% of participants advocated for a visual demonstration.

Here are several other reasons why hands-on learning is a valuable tool at Lawton:

Most skilled trade positions require a lot of active problem solving, because of the natural variability of work processes. The more employees interact directly with their role, the more they are able to really understand how to effectively solve problems as they arise.

Experiential learning using a hands-on approach is also valuable when it comes to familiarizing Lawton employees with their role and to create muscle memory for the tasks they must perform. Studies have shown that hands-on training results in a higher degree of information retention. This is valuable when it comes to on-the-job safety. It’s much easier to remember important safety measures when you actively practice them.

Additionally, in a trade environment like Lawton, learning from the experiences of others is really valuable. Although the casting process, in general, can be explained by anyone who knows it, no one understands Lawton’s unique process and customers better than our employees.

Hands-on learning keeps employees engaged and stimulated, enables them to work safely and learn our processes more effectively. This allows Lawton to cater to many learning styles and sets up its employees for success.