Learning Styles Exercises

I'm running a TTT soon and will be covering Kolb's Learning Styles and VAK theory. I have a questionnaire for VAK to determine a preference but am looking for something for Kolb. I would like to have something other than a questionnaire to try and demonstrate the 4 styles. Can anyone help??
Allison Preece

Answers

Firstly, I also agree with the recommendations for the Peter Honey materials. I've been using them for years and have found them very reliable.

As to the VAK test, however -

Assuming that you are referring to Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic then you need to know that these are very definitely NOT fixed preferences. Someone may well switch from one Representation System to another, depending on the context, and in any case, whilst most tests I've seen only look for "a" preferred rep. system, the research (such as it is) shows that people "usually" favour two systems at any given moment, and quite often show no preference at all.
(Not surprising, really - you can hardly turn your ears and your feelings off just because you're looking at something.)

By the way, I'm not anti-NLP. Far from it. But I do think that in this context you're better off using Honey and Mumford's materials which seem to measure rather more consistent characteristics.

Best wishes

Paul

There is a questionnaire for Kolb. I used to get it from the USA. However, personally I have always found that Peter Honey's Learning Styles model is better received and that is easily available. There is also a Tutor's/Trainer's guide.

Hi Allison

Try www.businessballs.com for some pretty sound (although basic) information on Kolb and the Honey and Mumford.

Good luck.

I agree with Jenny, I have recently run a series of Coaching workshops and used the Peter Honey Learning Styles Questionnaires, they are easy to use, self-explanatory and the groups found them to be very interesting. We have now also rolled it out company wide incorporating Learning Styles into PDP's and 1:1's.

Jenny,
I did put together a short powerpoint explanation of KOLB which graphically compares Learning Cycles to Learning Styles and then brings out the advantages and disadvantages of each. This could be easily reworked into a short face-to-face bit ending with a group activity. Delegates could be asked to group themselves against the four styles by their responses to a simple question, and then asked to identify their approaches strengths, and the weaknesses of the others styles. Ends with balanced learner explanation. Please contact me if you would like more info.
davem@adval.co.uk

One thing that can be a bit of fun is introducing the concepts using an energiser / ice breaker. I did the following, which worked pretty well. It was backed up by a flip chart overlaying Honey's learning styles on Kolb's learning cycle.

This quick energiser can give people a flaour of the difference between learning styles of their trainees. I asked people to raise their hands if they have ever had to put together a flatpack or construct something from a kit. As I expected, everyone had had some experience of putting something together from instructions. I had placed 4 posters in the 4 corners of the room. The posters were numbered 1 to 4, and each had a description of a method of approach to this problem. I then asked them to go to the appropriate poster, a according to method they employed or think they would employ: "1 – picked up pieces and started putting them together", "2 – read instructions through and then started building", "3 – started by looking at list of contents and counting them out to make sure they were all there before starting", "4 - read instructions, looked at pieces, and thought through how I would go about it before starting". My assumption was that those going for no. 1 are Activists, no. 2 are Theorists, no. 3 are Pragmatists, no. 4 are Reflectors.) It's not very scientific, but does give people an idea about differences of approach.

It would probably work within an organisational/team building context, to illustrate why colleagues might approach a task in different ways.

I was looking for something similar recently to use on a "Coaching skills for Managers" workshop. I found an old powerpoint file which I had downloaded a couple of years ago from I don't know where. It had the originator's name on it and I was able to check with him - he is happy for practitioners to use it. The file provides some very handy diagrams which grab your attention (depending upon your "style", of course), as well as some text detail. It was very well received by the managers concerned and they had previously used the H&M Questionnaire. Let me know if you would like me to send you the file.

This may or may not be of interest to you. It is a website that offers a free learning assessment. I've used this before to orientate trainees to their own learning style prior to going into the learning style discussion. Hope it is helpful. http://www.memletics.com/manual/learning-styles.asp

jhoward's picture

(Similar to previous suggestions) I do a line-up. Using a line along the floor as a continuum from theorist to activist, I ask people to place themselves on the line in response to the question "Imagine you have to do something new, rather challenging, and you want to look good. Imagine you only have 2 choices - to get more information and some kind of framework(one end of the line) OR do something straightaway and see what happens (the other end of the line- where would you put yourself along that line?

Then when they are in a line, I say "Now imagine you have another choice - same situation and a second choice to the one you've just taken. This time you choose between reflecting and observing others OR making a plan and trying something out." I draw the second line (making a cross in the room) and ask people to stay at the level of their first position on the first line but move backwards or forwards either towards reflector end or the pragmatist end of the second line.

The they are asked to look around, see where everyone else is, think about the implications. I often ask them to talk to someone in a very different position and try to understand that different approach.
And I use various other discussion topics depending on the group.

It has always been a very successful exercise, "interesting and fun" is often the feedback.
I've sometimes followed it up with a H&M questionnaire, and the results come out much the same.

 I was browsing this site for a new energiser for my workshop tomorrow to demonstrate these different styles - what a fantastic suggestion!  I will definitely be doing this tomorrow.  Thanks

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