Learning styles were developed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, based upon the work of Kolb, and they identified four distinct learning styles or preferences:
Activist, Theorist; Pragmatist and Reflector.
These are the learning approaches that individuals naturally prefer and they recommend that in order to maximise one's own personal learning each learner ought to understand their learning style and seek out opportunities to learn using that style
To understand your particular learning style Honey and Mumford have developed a Learning Style Questionnaire [see Team Leadership Activities] and with this information, you will be in a far better position to do three really useful things [quoting P. Honey]:
- "Become smarter at getting a better fit between learning opportunities and the way you learn best. This makes your learning easier, more effective and more enjoyable. It saves you tackling your learning on a hit-and-miss basis. Equipped with information about your learning preferences, you'll have many more hits and fewer misses."
- "Expand the 'bandwidth' of experiences from which you derive benefit. Becoming an all-around learner, increases your versatility and helps you learn from a wide variety of different experiences - some formal, some informal, some planned and some spontaneous."
- "Improve your learning skills and processes. Increased awareness of how you learn, opens up the whole process to self-scrutiny and improvement. Learning to learn is your most important capability since it provides the gateway to everything else you want to develop."
However, to be an effective learner you should also develop the ability to learn in other styles too.
The characteristics of the four learning styles are summarised in the following table.
|Activist||Activists are those people who learn by doing. Activists need to get their hands dirty, to dive in with both feet first. Have an open-minded approach to learning, involving themselves fully and without bias in new experiences.||
|Theorist||These learners like to understand the theory behind the actions. They need models, concepts and facts in order to engage in the learning process. Prefer to analyse and synthesise, drawing new information into a systematic and logical 'theory'.||
|Pragmatist||These people need to be able to see how to put the learning into practice in the real world. Abstract concepts and games are of limited use unless they can see a way to put the ideas into action in their lives. Experimenters, trying out new ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work.||
|Reflector||These people learn by observing and thinking about what happened. They may avoid leaping in and prefer to watch from the sidelines. Prefer to stand back and view experiences from a number of different perspectives, collecting data and taking the time to work towards an appropriate conclusion.||
Taken from How to be an e-tutor by Dr Richard Mobbs.