Variations of Learning Style Theories and Models

When it comes to learning styles there are many variations and different learning styles theories and methodologies that are focused on learning early on in life and later on in life.

To list a few:

  • David Kolbs Experiential Learning
  • Honey & Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire
  • Gregorc’s Mind Styles
  • VARK Learning Styles

There are more and often the science behind these are questioned and challenged. Three learning style theories that carry the most weight tend to be VARK learning styles, Honey & Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire and Kolb’s Experiential Learning.

Through time learning styles have developed. The Honey and Mumford Learning Styles are a development of David Kolb’s experiential learning theory which focused on continuous learning that developed specific skill sets.

Moving from Experiential Learning to Honey and Mumford Learning Styles According to David Kolb, there were four specific learning styles.

These are known as Accommodators, Convergers, Divergers and Assimilators. Accommodator Learners Kolb’s learning style theory associated accommodator learners as learners who learn by doing.

These types of learners fundamentally learn by taking a trial and error approach to learning.

Accommodator Learners

Kolb’s learning style theory associated accommodator learners as learners who learn by doing. These types of learners fundamentally learn by taking a trial and error approach to learning.

Converger Learners

Converger learners are more conceptual thinkers who learn through contemplation of abstract ideas and pursuing thought. However, the final output needs to show concrete results to quantify their learning.

Diverger Learners

Diverger Learners Kolb described Diverger learners as learners who gained knowledge or insight through experience and practical ideas. This allows them to formulate theories and hypotheses that could be applied on a wider scale.

Assimilator Learners

Assimilator learners are the most abstract thinkers who are most comfortable with abstract and critical thinking concepts. These are the types of learners who push new ideas, thinking and innovations.

Often looked at by businesses as star thinkers. In some way learning styles often crossover. For example, the VARK learning style theory references visual, audio, reading and kinaesthetic learning.

How this links to David Kolb’s and Honey and Mumford’s Learning Styles is through the fact that learning styles naturally reflect a form of visual, auditory, reading or doing action to learn.

Where, for example, Honey and Mumford develops on Kolb’s learning style theory and differentiates it from VARK learning styles is in how this learning theory goes beyond the binary VARK theory and moves into more conceptual ideas of learning styles and personality types.

The Honey and Mumford learning style theory is a trusted theory that has been used industry-wide for nearly 40 years. The Learning Styles Questionnaire, like Kolb’s theory, focuses on 4 learning styles. These being the Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist learning styles.

This model of learning styles developed on Kolb’s theory by focusing on how learning is used in practice in workplace situations. This differentiates focus because of Kolb’s research not being focused on such a specific area as to how we learn in working environments. The result shows differences in learning styles as a result of this focus:

Activists

Activists are open-minded learners can welcome new challenges, processes and techniques into their workplace/learning environment through open-minded approaches. Very similar accommodators, they are happy to take on hands-on approaches to facilitate their learning.

Reflectors

Reflectors are a thoughtful group, who follows a reading and listening approach. Logical thinkers require information to analyse before concluding. This makes them natural critical thinkers.

The Theorist Learning Style

Theorists are often strategic thinkers, they conceptualise assimilators and see the big picture that businesses need to achieve overall strategic objectives.

Pragmatists

Pragmatists are very practical learners, they relate their learning style to a kinaesthetic, or a ‘doing’, approach.

While similar to their origins, the Honey & Mumford approach reflects the workplace focus more accurately in their learning style theory.

This allows businesses to identify and optimise their workforce by understanding which style of person could work within a specific team or wider business; or could be developed further.

How Businesses Map Out Learning Styles

To help grow and develop their talent pool, businesses use the Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire to identify learning styles within talent pools and better map out career paths, department resources and identify gaps that may need to be filled.

This allows businesses to nurture teams that are tailored to business needs and working in specific ways/towards differentiating goals. Taking this approach is a different management style and one that is focused on talent needs for growth and development as much as it is for commercial growth.

To learn more about the Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire and how it could be of benefit to your business, please feel free to contact us or visit our Honey and Mumford LSQ.