How we learn is a topic that is covered in thousands of books and articles written on the subject from hundreds of different perspectives. One particular, but large, foundational part of this subject area is learning styles.
Learning Styles identifies each individual’s preferred method for taking in, retaining, and recalling new information while engaging with the whole brain. Because there is no one way to learn most effectively, everyone values different ways of interacting with their learning experience. Understanding how the whole brain influences learning style offers the key to maximizing an individual’s learning transfer and gives an organization insight into training efficiencies designed to meet learner’s needs.
All learners are not equal. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and from many cultural backgrounds. In addition, their past experience and existing methods of learning may be quite different. Apart from differences in general background or culture, some people like to process information through text, while others want visual support and images. Some assimilate information individually, while others prefer to work in groups. Some grasp information intuitively and quickly, while others prefer to see a strong sequential path and time to reflect. In the end, the only thing you can say for sure is that every individual learns in their own particular way.
The Learning Styles assessment uses four categories to describe the natural cycle we all follow when we try to learn something new or different. This cycle happens in sequential order and includes :
The Learning Styles Questionnaire helps individuals understand their relative preferences as they learn and to better manage their transfer process in the future.
The learning styles overview helps to create a holistic picture of the various ways people learn, and helps support your understanding of your own learning style. It is important to know that all learners possess all styles of the learning model in varying degrees depending on preferences.
ATTENDING looks at an individuals motivation to learn, and the level of commitment and concentration when new information is presented. There are 2 sub scales – Telescopic and Wide-Angled.
• Telescopic means they are generally effective at concentrating without worrying about physical context.
• Wide-angled means they are easily affected by environmental factors like noise, light, or other physical influences.
TRANSLATING looks at whom an individual relies on most in managing the transfer of learning, to make sense of what they see, hear or sense. It is how information is made meaningful. There are 3 sub scales – Dependent, Collaborative, and Autonomous.
• Dependent means the individual will mainly rely on a trainer or facilitator for information.
• Collaborative means the individual will mainly favor group discussions or team activities for learning.
• Autonomous means that self-reliance is the preferred way to mange the learning transfer process personally.
RELATING looks at an individuals perception of data or information and how it is related or linked to existing knowledge. It has 3 sub scales – Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic.
• Visual is the preference for information that can be seen with the eyes.
• Auditory is the preference for information that is heard.
• Kinesthetic is the preference for information that can be experienced through touch, smell or taste.
UNDERSTANDING looks at the individual’s preference for synthesizing data or information that they receive or how we use and apply information. It has 2 sub scales – Global and Analytical.
• Global is the preference for understanding the conceptual or “big-picture”.
• Analytical is a preference for understanding at a more detailed level and a step-by-step approach.
Learning is something that occurs constantly. It’s a process of involvement with the world around us. Most of us need to relate our learning to our experiences to create context and meaning and find ways to apply what we have learned. Although this is far from an exact science, the simple view is that the more we can understand about how we perceive new information or new learning, the better and more successful our learning transfer will be.
The Learning Styles Assessment
- Helps individuals understand their relative preferences as they learn and to better manage their knowledge transfer process in the future.
- Helps determine where people’s general preferences, or natural learning biases, might lie.
- Provides an understanding of our individual strengths and weaknesses, our biases and preferences, and the learning cycle, so we can adjust our individual learning approach to maximize our learning results.
- Provides a more inclusive awareness of your own preferences, your own abilities, and your learning style to be the most engaged learner you can be.
Trainers and Coaches Can
- Helps others to be their best by using that same awareness to help them engage in and understand the process and improve their own learning.
- Adapt and personalize techniques to reach others through their optimal learning style.
What if I learn well in more than one way?
It is important to note that all learners possess all styles of the learning model in varying degrees depending on preferences. And, no matter what term one uses to define learning styles, once we have an understanding of our individual strengths and weaknesses, our biases and preferences, and the learning cycle, we can adjust our individual learning approach to maximize our learning results.
This learning styles assessment helps to create a holistic picture of the various ways people learn, and aims to help support your understanding of your own learning style.
• Attending – Motivation and Attention to Learning
• Translating – Making Information Meaningful
• Relating – Linking Data to Existing Knowledge
• Understanding – Using and Applying the Knowledge
Why is it important to know if someone has a different preference than you do?
• They may be engaging in learning differently
• They may need a different environment to be as effective as possible to ATTEND
• They may need additional support in other ways than I do to TRANSLATE well
• I may need to adjust my approach to help them understand something more thoroughly to RELATE
• I may need to share more information or less information to help them UNDERSTAND
We can look for ways to apply learning by understanding? There are two ways we can understand: Global and Analytical.
• Seeing the big picture
• Reading between the lines
• Seeing options
• Details, focus