Helping adults to understand how they learn best is one of the greatest gifts we can offer; particularly where previous educational or training experiences have been poor and/or personal confidence to participate within the learning environment or engage in the group is low.

What humans do and why is not an exact science, and while there are some splendid theories to explain and models to apply describing different learning styles, preferences or leanings, each has both supporters and critics.

On one hand, the more complex the theory, the more rigorously it is critiqued. On the other, the simpler the model, the easier it is to unpick.

Call me superficial (or perhaps it is the pragmatist in me) but as a trainer, facilitator and mentor working with people and groups in real-time, the theories and models I find most useful are those that participants can easily relate to, as they have recognisable features and dimensions, and most importantly feel “real” enough to engage and work with.

So in my line of work, applying the best of what is available (and makes good sense to me!) is really the key thing.

The alternative is sitting around waiting for the definitive theory, to which all academics, writers, commentators and whoever sign up. That could be quite a wait…

Gaining an understanding of these different theories and models, and testing them out in practice, has helped me heaps over the years.

In the next few posts I’ll offer up some thoughts on the ones I’ve taken to…

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