I first came across Honey and Mumford’s Learning Styles (Activists, Reflectors, Theorists & Pragmatists) in the early 1990s.

This was as a training participant, and quite some time before I began designing or delivering training myself. I can remember wondering just how a trainer would go about catering to such different needs and expectations.

So just how do you go about catering to these different styles?

Fortunately, although the four styles have their own distinctions, there is common ground to work on.

For example Theorists and Reflectors share a need for information, and opportunities to explore, process and make-sense-of, while Activists and Pragmatists have an affinity for practical activities and hands-on involvement.

At one level, simply alternating between mental and physical activities in training delivery can go a long way to providing just-enough variation to satisfy the different learning styles in most any group.

It took me a little while to discover that Honey and Mumford’s Learning Styles were both informed by, and can be directly related to David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle.

Experiential Learning Cycle

While learning styles focus on the different ways people like to learn, the experiential learning cycle identifies the processes that are involved in effective learning. For anyone invested in training, learning and development, getting to grips with the cycle and its implications will greatly enhance both design and delivery.

We’ll unpick the cycle (and decode the language!) in the next blog…

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