Honey & Mumford learning Styles
There have been several different ideas and developments into learning theories and how individuals perceive and apply new knowledge, but one of the most explored ideas came from Peter Honey and Alan Mumford.
Their learning system was developed during the 1970s and was a variation on the David Kolb learning theory.
Both were based on four key elements of learning, but where as Kolb’s system was to follow a learning cycle by starting at one point or stage and then progressing along a set learning path, Honey and Mumford’s approach was to identify the learning preferences of an individual learner with a view to structuring learning materials and experiences around that preferred learning style or styles.
The idea was that a preferred learning style or a combination of the four main styles would result in the learner being able to absorb, understand and apply new information more quickly and effectively, rather than the ‘one style fits all’ approach, such as theory only or practical only work sessions.
Honey and Mumford’s four main learning style preferences can be briefly described under the following four headers, along with one or two positive and negative factors.
Activist-Now, let me get on with it!
Activists like to experience things straight away. They are enthusiastic and like a challenge when working with others through new problems and are generally open minded and are eager to contribute during group discussions.
They do not like repetition and struggle when left to their own devices. Lectures and factual information with little or no input or discussion are also problematic and precise instructions can be difficult to follow.
Reflectors-Wait, sum-up look before you leap.
Reflectors like to sum-up a situation and view a problem or discussion from various perspectives before making or expressing any opinions they may have without the feeling of being rushed. They can be initially quiet within a group and like the time to be able to sit back and absorb information and listen to others before digesting it and offering their own views.
They do not operate well under strict or rushed conditions and shy away from leading group discussions or activities. Direct questioning without time to think would also cause a negative learning environment for someone whose learning style is that of a reflector. Theorist-What is this for? What is the main goal? Methodical
Theorists are methodical and prefer to work in a structured and logical fashion that requires some application of existing knowledge. They will often view things in black and white, yet are able to tackle new ideas without the need for an immediate reference to a relevant topic. Questioning of ideas and theories and how to develop them are also paramount to a theorist.
They do not like to work in an unstructured fashion with no set goal or conclusion. Instructions must be clear and if involved with a group activity, then they should be working with people of a similar learning style.
e.g. Reflector and Theorist
Pragmatists-practical and open to new ideas
Pragmatists work well when they have a direct link to a relevant situation either at work or within their personal lives. They are open to new ideas and like to work practically from a peer or model example (copying). Clear reasoning behind tasks and activities are an advantage.
They do not work or learn effectively if there is no clear advantage to a task or information. They require a starting point or reference and need a variety of learning methods, such as both theory and practical.
Here are some practical examples of these four different learning styles.
Martin is a 16 year old guitar player who is enthusiastic when working in a performance group, is reasonably open minded to ideas and has good communication skills. He does however; tend to over shadow quieter members of the...
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