5 ways we make learning easier
24th October 2022
Driving instructor performance review
15th November 2022

Do you think in words or pictures?

If I were to ask you to explain how you go about changing a tyre at the roadside, how does your brain go about that task – in words or pictures?


Some might start writing a list, others might close their eyes and picture in their mind what they do, and other people would happily start rattling off the “to-do” list making alterations to the order as they go along. Some will stare into space while they think hard.  


How we recall information is important to recognise, we will naturally be attracted to a trainer who matches our personal preference. How well we can mentally construct our list of actions will start to create longer-term memory and for driving instructors facilitating learning with pupils, that is important.  

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Take roundabouts for example. Some pupils will like to talk through what they need to do, others would prefer to draw it, write it in a list, some will use their hands while talking, others will stare at the steering wheel, then close their eyes, and they might raise their index fingers to either side of their head – yes, they are thinking hard. Some pupils will feel comfortable with silence prior to them answering you, others will prefer to “shoot from the hip” and verbalise driving actions for roundabouts in a scatter gun style.  


Pupils vary when it comes to how they make knowledge stick too. Some will like to see you demonstrate something, many times. Others will prefer to do it, slowly, with you telling them every step of the way. Others might prefer a more experimental approach. Pupils will absorb information via conversation, watching a video, looking at a graphic image, listen to your explanation. Some are going to go home and make post-it notes of key actions, others are going to talk to family or friends, and others will do nothing, other than reflect on it in their minds. 


What we can do as effective training providers is be aware of the above and be prepared to adapt to how our pupil learns. When we say here at BIG TOM, “We make learning easier”, this is what we are referring to. Attempting to force a pupil to learn something in a way that appeals to you is not making learning easier, it can be quite the opposite. You will get a chance to put this into practice when training for the part 3; we have some amusing scenarios that really zone in on the learning point here. 

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If a driving instructor were to ignore this point, then it could frustrate pupils, it might lead them to doubt themselves and their ability, and it might make them upset. All of these outcomes are avoidable just by having the willingness to adapt; paying attention to your pupil.  

Look at what this sample of previous pupils has to say about the way they learnt: 

Harry said, “The week was structured perfectly to my learning style 

Debbie said,”…. really adapted the learning techniques to me as an individual, ensuring I was learning at my own pace and the content really started to ‘sink in’ “ 

Sam said, “….created an engaging, student-led learning environment in which I felt comfortable talking about any problems openly and guided the direction of the sessions to best address my needs” 

Billy said, “….I was told about different ways of learning and developing new skills which is very good for confidence” 

Lottie said, “….and always explains things so well and carefully” 

Will’s father said, “Will was at ease with you he felt relaxed and liked the way you taught him 

Jake said, “An absolute pleasure to learn with and made every day one to look forward to” 

Hollie said, “…. teaching style was very effective, and easy to understand, which was proven when I passed my test first time” 

Deborah said, “….was able to tap into the best way to teach me to drive overcoming any nerves and anxieties” 

Dannielle said, “….would talk through different ways of doing things so you can work out what’s best for you” 

Ria said, “…. has a natural ability to offer multiple strategies for learning to drive whilst also encouraging students to maintain autonomy over their learning” 

Kitty said, “….was able to adapt his teaching style to suit my needs and made the whole learning experience pleasurable and less stressful.” 

Nicole said, “…. was very thorough with helping me learn in my particular preferred way 


When you come on your PDI (trainee driving instructor) training with BIG TOM, you will start to see how learning this skill of adapting to your pupil makes an incredible difference to the learning outcomes. As you can see from the sample above, this is not a theoretical point, this ability to adapt creates a superior customer experience. Customers do recognise a skilled practitioner when they work with one, it is the difference between mediocre driving instruction and a high standard of driving instruction.  

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