Learning styles


Learning styles.

There is some work by Honey and Mumford which we are going to look at. We can do this as an actual exercise but as it involves an enormous amount of translation I think we will leave that up to you to try separately.

The Honey an Mumford learning styles questionnaire asks a series of questions and has a scoring system which allows you to determine what sort of learner you are.

There are four different types of learner outlined here. There will be a handout. The four types of learners are the

1. Activists

2. Reflectors

3. Theorists

4. Pragmatists.

Activists involve themselves fully without bias in new experiences.

Sounds good so far! They enjoy the here and now and are dominated by immediate experiences. They are open minded, and so enthusiastic about new things. They will try anything once. They tend to act first and consider the consequences later. They are full of activity they tackle problems by brainstorming ideas They thrive on challenge and new experience but get bored with implementation. They are gregarious and centre activity around themselves.


Like to stand back and ponder experiences. Observe from different view doubts, collect the data think about it and then come up with their ideas. Delay an answer. Cautions. Thoughtful consider the implications. Take a back seat in meetings and observe. Get the drift of discussion before joining in. Tolerant. When they act they use all the information from themselves and others

Theorists use the information and their observations to come up with theories. They like to think things through in a logical way. They can be perfectionists and need to have things in order. They like basic theories and models and systems. They prize rationality and logic.. they tend to be detached and analytical. They relate to this mental set and reject anything that does not fit. They feel uncomfortable with subjective judgements, lateral thinking and anything flippant.

Pragmatists are keen on trying out new ideas, theories and techniques to see if they will work in practice. They search out opportunities to experiment. They come back from courses with lots of ideas and want to try them out now. They like to get on with things ASAP. They have confidence about ideas they like and can be inpatient with open ended discussions. They are practical people who like to make practical decisions and solve problems. They consider these a challenge There philosophy is that there is a better way.

What are the differences between them.

2 groups activists and reflectors what do they like?

What is their location physically and psychologically

What would they be like at a meeting

What types of teaching activity might they enjoy

Are they cautious

What sort of learning activities will activists enjoy?

Being thrown into the deep end. Chairing meetings and debates, generating ideas, working with others, meeting a challenge, having a go, diverse activities.

Games, teamwork tasks with competition, role playing, brainstorming

Don’t like, Being asked to stand back, analysing and interpreting lots of information, lots of theory, solitary work, practicing an activity a lot, precise instructions, attending to the detail.

What activities do reflectors like?

Activities with time to think over issues

Opportunities to listen and observe

Videos, meetings,

Prior information to ponder before meeting/session

Opportunities to seek information prior to

Providing analysis

No tight deadlines

Theorists like:-

Systems, models and theories

Time to explore methodically the relationships between ideas

A chance to probe

To be intellectually stretched, analysing complex situation,

Structured situations with clear purpose.

Opportunities to prepare reading around the subject and analyse

They hate being thrown in and very tight deadlines to achieve.

What would you do to help the theorists?

Set clear objectives and make sure they understand what they are aiming for.

Start with some theory to set the scene

Give some pre reading and prior work to be achieved.

Make deadlines clear

Have follow up sessions

Pragmatists like

Links between what they are studying and real life

Things that help them practically save time, deal with awkward people etc

Opportunities to practice things with a credible coach

Role modelling with someone who has a proven track record

Immediate opportunities to implement

Info that is applicable to their job now.

Practical issue

So give them

Anecdotes and examples

Get them to apply to their own practice

Draw up action plans


Applied theory no ivory towers


So what type of learner are you?

What type of learners are your learners? How do you make sure they have the right type of session. You cannot satisfy everyone all of the time but don’t get stuck in the rut that is your personal preference.

Apply this theory to cooking a meal for five friends

What would each group do?


Ask people back for a meal. Look at what is in cupboard and throw it together. Or pop to the shop on the way home.

Get home and chuck papers under the sofa

Lay table as the food is cooking

Try out new recipes on friends

Friends chat in kitchen


Plan a date when all the people you want are free

Look at who would get on well with whom

Ask for preferences to eat

Make a plan for cooking times

Cook something previously cooked

Take the afternoon off to cook and make sure everything just right.


Plan a seating plan Make name cards

Have music ready which you know guests will like

Follow the recipe completely. Love menu plans

Like a cook book with pictures of the completed dish. If it says serve with a particular veg they will.


Everyone sit where they like

Try out new recipes which use skills previously tried

Don’t follow recipes very closely will adapt

Watch cooking programmes

Like to be in the kitchen while others cook

Will use time saving gadgets

We all are mixtures of these we can all adapt.