Honey and Mumford: Learning Style Questionnaire

Measure employees' preferred style of learning on a self directed basis with the Learning Styles Questionnaire.

"Learning to learn is your most important capability since it provides the gateway to everything else you want to develop. How you learn is a key, if not the key life skill." Peter Honey (2016)

Understanding Talents Learning Styles

The Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire was developed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford.

It has been used extensively within the industry and academia for over 35 years. A highly cost-effective self-development instrument for assessing individual learning style preferences, the Learning Styles Questionnaire (LSQ) is designed to measure learning preferences in individuals aged 16+.

The LSQ is based on David Kolb’s Learning Cycle theory which looks directly at how individuals learn, rather than their tendencies to learn.

The Honey & Mumford learning styles questionnaire is available in 40 or 80-items and is designed to stimulate individuals and groups into thinking about how they prefer to learn from experiences. The Honey and Mumford test follows the learning cycle (do; review; conclude & plan).

Once an individual’s preference for learning style has been identified, they are better placed to choose learning experiences that suit their predominant learning style(s). Helping them learn more easily and more effectively from a range of different learning opportunities.

Learning and development teams in businesses can use the Honey and Mumford test to:

  • Match learning opportunities with how specific talent best learns – this makes learning easier, more effective and more enjoyable.
  • Become an all-round learner – increasing versatility of talent by learning from a wide variety of different experiences; some formal, some informal, some planned and some spontaneous.
  • Improve learning skills and processes – increasing awareness of how talent learn opens up the whole process to self-scrutiny and improvement.

Benefits of Learning Style Questionnaires

Thousands of organisations globally have benefited from staff completing the Honey & Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire by discovering which style of learning they prefer, then attempting to improve less preferred styles.

The LSQ questionnaire is a highly cost-effective self-development instrument. LSQ is a useful tool for supporting the learning and development of individuals.

Improved Efficiency in Developing Talent Learning Styles

By understanding talents preferential learning style, company personal development strategies can be more effectively tailored to optimise your talents learning and reduce excess spend developing talent using an incorrect learning style.

Improved Talent Learning Diversity and Effective Outputs

Understanding learning styles and broadening your talent pool’s range of learning styles creates diversification and new ways to learn, develop and acquire information. This improves talent flow and required output within a business, allowing for constant ways of thinking and challenging stereotypes of how businesses should learn and operate.

Why you should promote learning friendly working environments >>

Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Explained

There are two versions of the Learning Styles Questionnaire, the 80-item which is the original questionnaire and 40-Item which was developed in 2000. Both learning questionnaires are available online or in print.

The learning styles test can be completed supervised or unsupervised. There are no time limits to these learning style tests. Individuals should answer the statements as accurately as possible; there are no wrong answers.

The survey contains or either 80 or 40 statements, which relate to behaviours representing each of the four different styles of learning: Activist Learners, Reflectors Learners, Theorists Learners and Pragmatists Learners.

Each statement you agree with counts as one point to the related learning style. The more statements you agree with relating to each style, the higher your preference for that type of learning will be. The results are available immediately upon completion.

The 80 Item Honey and Mumford Learning Questionnaire:

  • Time: Approx 20 minutes.
  • Amount: 80 statements with 20 items per style of learning.
  • Ideal for those wanting a comprehensive questionnaire.
  • Suited for longer sessions where styles and recommendations can be discussed.
  • Appeal to professionals who are familiar with the original Honey and Mumford Questionnaire.

The 40 Item Honey and Mumford Learning Questionnaire:

  • Time: 10 minutes to complete.
  • Amount: 40 statements with 10 items per style of learning.
  • Ideal as an initial introduction to individuals or groups starting to think about how they learn.
  • Time-efficient as this questionnaire is shorter to complete and score.
  • Ideal for keeping groups focused on next steps. The report is clear and concise with suggestions to action.

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What does the Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Test measure?

The aim of the Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire is to equip you with the skills needed to be an all-round learner in all four phases of the learning cycle – experiencing, reviewing, concluding and planning.

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. The highest score indicates the type of learner you are which corresponds to your learning preference.

The output report provides your results as a Raw Score (amount of statements you agreed with), percentile score (comparing your raw score to a group of others who have previously completed the LSQ), and visual graph (indicates the strength of your preference for each learning style).

Learning Style

Type of Learner

Learning preference

ActivistsHands onTrial and error 
ReflectorsTell meBriefed before proceeding
TheoristsConvince meClarity – Does this make sense?
PragmatistsShow meLikes an expert to demonstrate

There are numerous ways that managers, teams and individuals – can use the information about learning style preferences beneficially. 

The output report also contains ‘suggestions for action’ for each style which will help you identify activities which may help individuals learn best, and activities which they may prefer to avoid.

An overview of the statements you have most disagreed with and a personal development plan to help them improve less preferred, or under-utilised learning preferences.

Output Report from the Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Test

  • 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.

Dr Peter Honey Explains how the Learning Questionnaire can be used within Learning and Development >>

Four Key Learning Styles of the Honey and Mumford Test

There are four learning styles that describe preferences in learning differences. These are:

The Activist Learning Style

○ Activists like to take direct action in order to learn. They are enthusiastic learners and welcome new challenges and experiences. Their learning style tends to be flexible, open-minded and enjoy getting involved and participating with others.

■ In contrast to other learning styles, activists will excel at learning when they are allowed to generate lots of ideas, or are involved with other people to bounce ideas around.

However, Activist learning styles may find it difficult to learn when: learning involves a passive role or are asked to repeat the same tasks on rote.

The Reflector Learning Style

○ Reflectors tend to be methodical, thorough and careful. They enjoy reading and listening, and undertake a thorough analysis of experiences before drawing conclusions.

■ In contrast to other learning styles, reflectors will excel at learning when they are allowed to think or watch over ideas, or are given time to prepare or read the information in advance.

However, Reflector learning styles may find it difficult to learn when: forced to take centre stage or given insufficient information to draw conclusions.

The Theorist Learning Style

○ Theorists like to see how things fit into an overall picture. They are logical and objective learners who adopt a sequential approach to problems. They tend to be rational, analytical and perfectionists.

■ In contrast to other styles, theorists will excel at learning when they are allowed to question and challenge assumptions or are given a clear purpose with which to work.

However, a theorist learning style may find it difficult to learn when: material provided is not methodically sound, or the activity is unstructured and uncertain.

The Pragmatist Learning Style

○ Pragmatists like to see how things work in practice. They tend to be practical, down to earth and realistic. They like “how-to” hints and techniques and the opportunity to try out learning.

■ In contrast to other styles, pragmatists will excel at learning when they are allowed to immediately implement what they have learnt, or learn by demonstration.

However a pragmatist learning style may find it difficult to learn when methods and decisions are convoluted and stalling, or there are obstacles to implementation.

A sample of 300 managers shows that it’s common to have one or two strong preferences (59%) and that it’s very unusual to have four strong preferences (2%.)

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The Honey and Mumford Learning Cycle

Inspired by and based upon David Kolb’s Learning Cycle, the Honey and Mumford Learning Cycle demonstrates how our learning preferences whilst learned, can change over time.

This is either because we require them too or due to a change in circumstance (a different job requiring new skill sets).

There are four stages to the learning cycle, each is equally weighted and plays an equal part in the process.

  • Experiencing – Experiences may be reactive or proactive, being open to new opportunities your potential to learn expands.
  • Reviewing – to learn from an experience it is vital to review what has happened and find ways of changing the circumstances.
  • Concluding – Using the raw material from meetings to provide lessons learned, conclusions and answers.
  • Planning – Being able to use the conclusions to forward plan and create an action plan moving forward.

Honey and Mumford built upon this model by suggesting there is an association between the learning cycle and learning styles. An individual with a preference for the Reflector learning style may excel in reviewing information but find it harder to provide action plans going forward if the information is incomplete.

By engaging in all four stages learners can develop new activities and styles that will enable them to become more effective and efficient learners.

David Kolb’s Learning Cycle Process:

Peter Honey Shares His 12 Learning Values >>

What Our Clients Say About The Honey & Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire

“Few trainers with experience will not have heard of the LSQ as it has been used worldwide for many years now, the general norms being based now on 3500 people who have completed LSQs, the most useful people comparison instrument I have used.”

Leslie Rae
December 2000, Training Zone

“The learning process broke down the problem, and moving through the different styles brought shifting viewpoints, a focus only on what was relevant, the reduction of risk, and the exploration of many ideas – the best of which was scrutinised and applied.

Bob benefitted, the manager benefitted, the team/department benefitted and the organisation benefited too. Far better than a dismissive, ineffective solution to a genuine problem, where no one benefits.”

EmergeUK

About TalentLens Pearson PLC

TalentLens is part of Pearson PLC, the world’s learning company and global market leader in assessments. We are an international talent assessment business. Using psychometric tests to help organisations select and develop top performers and high potential.

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Supported by over 70 years of research, our psychometric tests, such as the Watson Glaser test, are used by hundreds of companies around the world for their employee recruitment and development projects.

As experts from the business world, our primary objective is to provide you with ongoing assistance to review your practices, understand and define your needs, and support you in choosing and using our assessment solutions.

We can support you with:

  • Choosing your inter-or in-company training and the administrative procedures required.
  • The development and implementation of customised services to meet your HR needs.
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Contact the TalentLens team to discuss how the LSQ can support your team’s learning and development. In the past, we have partnered with Campaign for Learning to offer insight into the
effectiveness of the LSQ for all learners.

For further insight, read our insight posts from Dr Peter Honey, and download our on-demand webinar.

Contact TalentLens for further support >>

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