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.
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’.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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!
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: