the activist / the reflector / the theorist or the pragmatists

Honey and Mumford (1982) devised a self-test which helps to identify your learning style.  It essentially helps you to determine whether you are predominantly an activist, a reflector, a theorist, or a pragmatist. Simply by reading the  list of attributes below, which make up the various learning styles, you will be able to determine which learning style most rings true to you. It will give you an idea about it each type their likes and loathes and will it help us collectively to understand others, our colleagues and friends.

It is important to be aware of other styles of learning and this useful reading in preparation for our up and coming Activist skill-share in September will help lay the foundation of the various learning styles.

3.1    Activists
Activists learn best from activities in which there are:
  • new experiences and challenges from which to learn
  • short ‘here and now’ tasks involving competitive teamwork and problem-solving
  • excitement, change and variety
  •  ‘high visibility’ tasks such as chairing meetings, leading discussions and presentations
  • situations in which new ideas can be developed without constraints of policy and structure
  • opportunities for just ‘having a go’.
Activists learn least from, and may react against, activities where:
  • they have a passive role (lectures, instructions, reading)
  •  they are observers
  •  they are required to assimilate, analyse and interpret lots of 'messy' data
  •  they must work in a solitary way (reading and writing alone)
  •  statements are ‘theoretical’ - an explanation of cause
  • there is considerable repetition (practising the same skill)
  •  there are precise instructions with little room for manoeuvre
  • they must be thorough, and tie up loose ends.
3.2    Reflectors
Reflectors learn best from activities where they:
  •  are allowed or encouraged to watch / think / ponder on activities
  •  have time to think before acting, to assimilate before commenting
  • can carry out careful, detailed research
  • have time to review their learning
  •  need to produce carefully considered analyses and reports
  • are helped to exchange views with other people without danger, by prior agreement, within a structured learning experience
  • can reach a decision without pressure and tight deadlines.

Reflectors learn least from, and may react against, activities where:
  • they feel ‘forced’ into the limelight
  •  they must act without time for planning
  •  they are asked for an instant reaction, or ‘off the cuff’ thoughts
  • they are given insufficient data on which to base a conclusion
  • in the interests of expediency, they have to make short cuts or do a superficial job.

3.3    Theorists
Theorists learn best from activities where:
  • what is being offered is part of a system, model, concept or theory
  • they can explore methodically the associations and interrelationships between ideas, events and situations
  •  they can question and probe the basic methodology, assumptions or logic
  •  they are intellectually stretched, e.g. by being asked to analyse and evaluate, then generalise
  •  they are in structured situations with a clear purpose
  • they see interesting ideas and concepts, whether or not they are immediately relevant.
Theorists learn least from, and may react against, activities where they:
  • have no apparent context or purpose
  •  have to participate in situations emphasising emotions and feelings
  • are involved in unstructured activities where ambiguity and uncertainty are high
  • are asked to act or decide without a basis in policy, principle or concept
  • are faced with a hotchpotch of alternative or contradictory techniques or methods without exploring any in depth
  • doubt that the subject matter is methodologically sound
  •  feel out of tune with other participants, for example when they are with lots of activists.
3.4    Pragmatists
Pragmatists learn best from activities where:

  •  there is an obvious link between the subject matter and a ‘real life’ problem
  • they are shown techniques for doing things with obvious practical advantages
  •  they have the chance to try out and practise techniques with coaching or feedback from a credible expert
  •  they see a model they can emulate, or examples / anecdotes
  •  they are given techniques currently applicable to their own work
  • they are given immediate opportunities to implement what they have learned
  • they can concentrate on practical issues, such as drawing up action plans or giving tips to others.
Pragmatists learn least from, and may react against, activities where:
  • the learning is not related to an immediate need they recognise
  • organisers of the learning seem distant from reality
  • there are no clear guidelines
  • they feel people are going round in circles rather than getting to the point
  • there are political, organisational, managerial or personal obstacles to implementation
  • there is no apparent reward from the learning activity, for example higher grades!
So which one do you resonate with? It is interesting to reflect upon the various learning styles

Each learning style is important and they often complement each other. Understanding this help when preparing workshops / presentations to groups. How people percieve and process information.

for more information check out this link:

We are in the process of pulling together the workshop program for this year's skill-share.  Workshop application need to be submitted by Wednesday 27th July.

To contribute a workshop
e-mail your application to: [email protected]

Please include in your workshop proposal e-mail.
  •  Your contact details (e-mail / phone etc)
  • Name of the workshop / seminar / training session
  • An overview of the what your workshop involves
  • How long you would like the workshop to run - (EG 30mins, 45mins, 1 hr, 1.5hr or 2 hrs).
  • Ideal capacity of your workshop (eg: 20, 40, participants)
  • the desired facility space you would like to hold your workshop in (eg outside / inside)
  • What facilities you need in order to run the workshop (eg: data projector, paper, textures etc).
  • A photo of yourself and a short bio which will be placed on the website.

We will be developing a workbook/program guide for the skill-share, so please think consider developing a worksheet to complement  interactive learning from your workshop.

We cannot guarantee all workshop proposals will be successful, however, we will endeavor to accommodate people who put forward a workshop proposal.

Workshop applicants will be notified by 1st August whether they have been successful.

There will also be a number of openspace sessions available during the skill-share.

This is an extract well worth reading, gives us all a bit of food for thought.

Van Jones On Jobs, Jails, And Environmental Justice
by David Kupfer

Environmentalists sometimes don’t understand that what motivated them to get involved in political activism and change their lifestyle isn’t going to inspire everyone else. It’s not just a matter of their explaining louder and louder why everyone should be like them. That’s not the politics of inclusion; that’s the politics of elitism. The reality is that working people will support ecological solutions, but not for the same reasons that the eco-elites support them.

A lot of wealthy, educated people wanted to take action as a result of Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth, but most low-income people and people of color I know had no interest in seeing the movie in the first place. They already have enough problems. They don’t need new crises to worry about. Around here we say that the people who already have a lot of opportunities are the ones who need to hear about the crises. So if you have a house and a car and a college degree, then, yes, you should hear about global warming, or peak oil, or dying species. But poor and low-income people need to hear about opportunities. They need to hear about the expected reduction in asthma rates when we reduce greenhouse gases. They need to hear about the wealth and health benefits of moving to a sustainable economy. Otherwise you are just telling people who are already having a bad day that they should have a worse one.

The politics of inclusion requires that you let different people approach ecological issues through different doors. Wanting to create jobs for poor kids has to be just as valid an entryway as concern about the rain forest. These different crises — political, ecological, and spiritual — are all interlocked.

The people who are dominating the environmental discussion right now want everybody to watch their movie, sign their petition, and march in line behind them. But the movement cannot grow the way we need it to unless we let the working-class guy and the undocumented worker and the poor kid from the inner city articulate their own agendas.

full article available here

We all have a lot of learning and sharing to do. This years skill-share is going to be the greatest Adelaide has ever seen. One not to be missed.

This year's skillshare is fast approaching. So saty tuned whilst the organising collective iron outs all the logistical details. But one thing is for sure, this skillshare is shaping up to be one of the best Adelaide has ever seen.

Activist Skill-share