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Learning Styles - So What?

21/04/2016

The Honey & Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire always succeeds in raising awareness (useful in itself!) but leaves some people saying ‘That’s very interesting but now what?'

The purpose of this week's post is to provide some helpful answers to this question - for individual learners, and for L&D Managers, teachers/lecturers and anyone else who has a role in helping to promote effective learning in the organisation.

The discovery that people have different learning style preferences is good news for individual learners; things suddenly fall into place and they understand (often for the first time!) why they learn more easily from some learning activities and find others less appealing.

Facilitators on the other hand, often find the fact that people have different learning style preferences a complication.  It would be so much easier if everyone had the same learning style and one size fitted all! However, as we all know, this is simply not realistic.

Given that varying talents help to ensure an effective team, being able to harness the different preferences is a way to further chances of success.  

 

Some answers to the ‘so what’ question

Getting people interested in how they learn

The Learning Styles Questionnaire is an attractive way to get someone interested (often for the first time!) in how they learn - in particular, in the stages that comprise the learning cycle (do – review – conclude – plan).  This helps them to become more aware of their learning ‘habits’ and to see how their learning could be tackled more purposefully.

 

Helping people play to their strengths

Once someone knows their learning style preferences, they are better equipped to choose learning experiences that suit their predominant style(s).  This helps them learn more easily and more effectively from a range of different learning opportunities.  

 

Developing a tolerance for activities that don’t match learning style preferences

When it isn’t possible for people to avoid a learning experience that doesn’t suit their style(s), at least having some insight into their learning style preferences helps them to understand why they are finding ‘incompatible’ learning more difficult.

This helps them to be more tolerant (and even to persevere and acquire a liking for a previously unfamiliar method).

 

Helping people expand their repertoire

The Learning Styles Questionnaire introduces people to the idea that their learning style preferences are not fixtures and that it is possible to develop under-utilised styles.

This helps people to see that there are advantages in working towards becoming better balanced, all-round learners.  In addition to the report outputs, I have devised exercises designed to help people identify feasible ways to strengthen learning styles of their choice.

 

Other useful ideas for teachers/lecturers

Additionally, there are numerous ways that organisational L&D – or anyone in a helping role - can use information about learning style preferences beneficially. For example, the information can be used to:

  • Design better blended learning programmes
  • Predict (and identify early) learning difficulties
  • Constitute effective learning groups or teams
  • Allocate roles in role-plays or other participative training exercises
  • Encourage people to produce action plans/personal development plans

 

To learn more about how the LSQ can assist your employees to realise how they prefer to take in information please feel free to visit the Learning Style Questionnaire page or contact Matt Stevens on 01279 623 868 / matt.stevens@pearson.com
 

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