What we can learn from education

Aside from 18 year olds, nerve-jangling parents and a few proud grandparents, no one cared too much about last week’s A level results. But actually something quite momentous occurred: boys got more A*/A grades than girls, for the first time in 17 years.

Aside from 18 year olds, nerve-jangling parents and a few proud grandparents, no one cared too much about last week’s A level results. But actually something quite momentous occurred: boys got more A*/A grades than girls, for the first time in 17 years.

So after consistently underperforming against their female counterparts at every stage of their education, those wily boys pipped girls to the post at the final whistle, and as a Y chromosome holder myself, I am clearly proud of this turn of events. But in the interests of full disclosure, top A level grades don’t feature on my own CV.

It is widely documented that A level results have improved over the last 20 years, but the jury is out on whether that’s down to easier exams, cleverer kids or better teaching. While I wouldn’t profess to know the answer, I do believe that teaching has improved significantly, and largely due to one fundamental shift.

After centuries of academics designing teaching programmes that suit their own learning styles, the profession has finally realised that people are different and they need to be taught differently.

Children are now assessed on whether they are visual, auditory or kinetic learners – essentially meaning do you prefer to read it, hear it, or practice it. Of course teaching involves all three elements, but changing the emphasis for each child helps keep everyone engaged, interested and ultimately learning.

But why stop there? If we’re born a mix of visual, auditory and kinetic learners, why should this flexible methodology be restricted to the classroom?

Like standard education, experiential marketing is a face-to-face learning experience. Talk to a visual learner, and they might feel intimidated (or just glaze over). While an auditory learner might love a chat, if you ask them to demo your product, they’ll probably run a mile. And there’s no way you’re going to engage a kinetic learner with a visual story, however beautifully it’s designed.

So how do you engage everyone? The first step is to offer all three tactics – something to watch or read, someone to talk to, and an activity to try. And then you need staff with the right experience, expertise and empathy to guide consumers towards the most comfortable element for them.

Because reaching as many of your target consumers as possible is not just about footfall and demographics – it’s about knowing them, predicting their behaviour, and designing an experience diverse enough for them all to enjoy.

Get that right, and your client will be handing out A*s in no time.

Janko Ferlič

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MASH Staffing