In our blog last month we covered several of the most popular methods of categorising Learning Styles. There were some useful descriptions of each of the learning styles. How important are they and does our learning style change as we get older?
We want to make this blog more participative and do our own little survey. We would love you to to do the test and let us know which of the learning styles you think you are. We are looking at the Activist, Theorist, Pragmatist, Reflector approach (refer back to the Learning Styles blog if you need to). Then take the test (hyperlink is shown below) and see if you were right about yourself. If you could then send an email or make a comment including any thoughts or experiences you may have had, we will see if our readers have a common learning style or if we are a really good mix of them all! Remember that there may be one dominant learning style but another secondary one with a close score. Please let us know your primary and secondary styles.
Several things have made me think that I ought to try the test again myself. Firstly, writing a blog about learning styles made me wonder if I had changed from the profile that was applicable years ago when covering various courses to do with training. Although we have used learning styles in our courses through Evolution Culture, as trainers and leading these events, we have not necessarily had the need to analyse our own learning styles.
Have we changed now we are that bit older? For me, the answer is ‘Yes’.
I think I know what my combination of learning styles is now, but a recent event also made me wonder if I have changed and the test confirms my own thoughts. I used to be a Reflector/Pragmatist, but now I am a Reflector first and foremost with Theorist and Pragmatist a close second, but my Activist score is way down. My colleague also checked her scores and previously she was a Pragmatist/Activist but the recent results show Pragmatist/Theorist as the top scores with just one point between them. At the bottom of the scale and again with only one point between them came Activist/Reflector. Maybe as we get older we think more before we act and consider past experiences.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but there are plenty of things out there that I do not know how to do. For example, you are planning on tiling a bathroom (walls or floor) or perhaps laying a new patio. You have seen a couple of examples of tiles/slabs in different colours and sizes that you like. So what do you do? Some would calculate the area to be covered and then armed with the square meterage, order that quantity of tiles/slabs. I am afraid I draft it out on paper or on the computer and work out what the best size is bearing in mind where the cuts need to be. I like to imagine the finished result, both visually pleasing and least effort in cutting. I also need to visualise the steps that will have to be taken to get there. So armed with various bits of information, stored in my head, computer or on scraps of paper I then set about ordering and subsequently getting the work done.
So how does that relate to learning styles you may ask? Well, since the advent of the internet and so much information available on it, I no longer have to rely on books and libraries. I could ask someone, but I did not know anyone who could help with this particular instance, and I was not about to ask a professional tiler/slab layer when we planned to do the work ourselves!
I also find that I get a little frustrated with people who do not learn and apply themselves to tasks in the same way that I do. For example, a new piece of technology that requires setting up and a piece of software downloading onto the computer. How would you tackle this? Would you check that you had all the necessary components first, then read the instructions and finally follow the instructions? Or would you tackle it by intuition? That is, based on previous experience of similar things, item A must connect somehow to item B and then switch it on and see what happens. Oh and not forgetting to put the CD in the laptop and see what comes up, click on a few menu items and files and wonder what on earth it is all about. If all that fails ask someone…. who happens to get frustrated because now they have to read the instructions, maybe out loud and check that everything is being done as described. I am definitely one for reading through it all first, then working through the instructions one step at a time.
Does it matter what your learning style is and if so how and where does it matter? If you are working in a team or in pairs and have new and unfamiliar tasks to complete, this may be building a house, a bridge, installing new software and connections etc, do you get on better with someone who has a similar learning style and therefore approach to the tasks? Perhaps that means that you may miss something vital that another member of the team can contribute because they approach things differently. Brainstorming appeals to some but not others, yet vital ‘out of the box’ thinking often comes from that approach and a new way of thinking about the situation appears that otherwise may have been missed.
Learning styles are not just for learning on courses although that is the primary reason – we need to develop courses and training interventions that appeal to all learning styles. However we see that our approach to tasks and situations has a root in learning styles. A bookworm, who has their head in a book reading the story behind something and how to do it, may frustrate the activist who just wants to get on and get the job done.
Remember there is a time and place for all of us and all the learning styles. We just have to recognise that we are all different and learn to appreciate other people’s points of view and ways of working.
Our courses that include learning styles are:
- Training Skills For Better Performance
- How to Deliver Training Online
- How to Design E-Learning