LEARNING STYLES MODEL
is a 365 day intervention if all line manager understand the basics (THAT
PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT AND LEARN IN DIFFERENT WAYS) They would then try
their best to become learning facilitators and HR agents of the company
Kolb's ( a pioneer thought leader in learning theory) sets out four
distinct learning styles (or preferences), which are based on a
four-stage learning cycle. (which might also be interpreted as a 'training
cycle'). In this respect Kolb's model is particularly elegant, since it offers
both a way to understand individual people's different learning styles,
and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential learning that applies
to us all.
this 'cycle of learning' as a central principle his experiential learning
theory, typically expressed as four-stage cycle of learning, in
which 'immediate or concrete experiences' provide a basis
for 'observations and reflections'. These 'observations and reflections'
are assimilated and distilled into 'abstract concepts' producing new
implications for action which can be 'actively tested' in turn
creating new experiences.
Kolb says that
ideally (and by inference not always) this process represents a learning cycle
or spiral where the learner 'touches all the bases', ie., a cycle of
experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. Immediate or concrete
experiences lead to observations and reflections. These reflections are then
assimilated (absorbed and translated) into abstract concepts with implications
for action, which the person can actively test and experiment with, which in
turn enable the creation of new experiences.
therefore works on two levels - a four-stage cycle:
- Concrete Experience -
- Reflective Observation
Conceptualization - (AC)
- Active Experimentation
a four-type definition of learning styles, (each representing the
combination of two preferred styles, rather like a two-by-two matrix of the
four-stage cycle styles, as illustrated below), for which Kolb used the terms:
- Diverging (CE/RO)
- Assimilating (AC/RO)
- Converging (AC/AE)
- Accommodating (CE/AE)
KOLB LEARNING STYLES DEFINITIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS
Knowing a person's (and your own) learning style
enables learning to be orientated according to the preferred method. That said,
everyone responds to and needs the stimulus of all types of learning styles to
one extent or another - it's a matter of using emphasis that fits best with the
given situation and a person's learning style preferences.
Here are brief descriptions of the four Kolb
(feeling and watching - CE/RO) - These people are able to look at things
from different perspectives. They are sensitive. They prefer to watch rather
than do, tending to gather information and use imagination to solve problems.
They are best at viewing concrete situations several different viewpoints. Kolb
called this style 'Diverging' because these people perform better in situations
that require ideas-generation, for example, brainstorming. People with a
Diverging learning style have broad cultural interests and like to gather
information. They are interested in people, tend to be imaginative and
emotional, and tend to be strong in the arts. People with the Diverging style
prefer to work in groups, to listen with an open mind and to receive personal
(watching and thinking - AC/RO) - The Assimilating learning preference is
for a concise, logical approach. Ideas and concepts are more important than
people. These people require good clear explanation rather than practical
opportunity. They excel at understanding wide-ranging information and
organising it a clear logical format. People with an Assimilating learning
style are less focused on people and more interested in ideas and abstract
concepts. People with this style are more attracted to logically sound theories
than approaches based on practical value. These learning style people is
important for effectiveness in information and science careers. In formal
learning situations, people with this style prefer readings, lectures,
exploring analytical models, and having time to think things through.
(doing and thinking - AC/AE) - People with a Converging learning style can
solve problems and will use their learning to find solutions to practical
issues. They prefer technical tasks, and are less concerned with people and
interpersonal aspects. People with a Converging learning style are best at
finding practical uses for ideas and theories. They can solve problems and make
decisions by finding solutions to questions and problems. People with a
Converging learning style are more attracted to technical tasks and problems
than social or interpersonal issues. A Converging learning style enables
specialist and technology abilities. People with a Converging style like to
experiment with new ideas, to simulate, and to work with practical
(doing and feeling - CE/AE) - The Accommodating learning style is
'hands-on', and relies on intuition rather than logic. These people use other
people's analysis, and prefer to take a practical, experiential approach. They
are attracted to new challenges and experiences, and to carrying out plans.
They commonly act on 'gut' instinct rather than logical analysis. People with
an Accommodating learning style will tend to rely on others for information
than carry out their own analysis. This learning style is prevalent and useful
in roles requiring action and initiative. People with an Accommodating learning
style prefer to work in teams to complete tasks. They set targets and actively
work in the field trying different ways to achieve an objective.
As with any behavioural model, this is a guide not
a strict set of rules.
Nevertheless most people clearly exhibit clear
strong preferences for a given learning style. The ability to use or 'switch
between' different styles is not one that we should assume comes easily or
naturally to many people.
Simply, people who have a clear learning style
preference, for whatever reason, will tend to learn more effectively if
learning is orientated according to their preference.
For instance - people who prefer the 'Assimilating'
learning style will not be comfortable being thrown in at the deep end without
notes and instructions.
People who like prefer to use an 'Accommodating'
learning style are likely to become frustrated if they are forced to read lots
of instructions and rules, and are unable to get hands on experience as soon as
This theory is as practical as it is deep... every
manager aspiring to be a trainer or coach should understand first how these
styles have influenced his learning in the last few years to
make him what he is ... and they use these styles to help people learn and
become what they ought to be ...ie work at their full potential