David Kolb, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University, developed the Learning Styles Model in the 1970s.
Kolb believed that in order to learn something, the experience needs to be understood and transformed.
He proposed the following factors that changed the idea of how people learn:
Learning is a process that cannot be measured in specific outcomes.
Learning is determined by experience.
Learning is contextual.
The environment in which one learns affects the learning process.
Social knowledge influences personal knowledge.
Kolb proposed four unique learning styles, called the “Learning Styles Inventory” (LSI):
These people can be a bit of a challenge to teach because they are not satisfied with a one-way of thinking approach.
They like to question “why” a lot, and consider different possibilities and outcomes.
They prefer learning in a one-on-one environment, so they have access to the teacher’s time to ask questions and raise concerns, or learn through exploration.
These employees are not satisfied with abstract theories, and want to understand how they can be applied in the real world.
They ask “how,” and test out concepts for themselves to see how they work.
They like working alone so they can take the time to test out abstract concepts and make small changes.
They comprehend best by independent learning or working on a computer.
These types of learners don’t want to sit in a lecture or at a training, but want a hands-on approach.
They get bored easily and want to learn by asking questions such as “why not?” and “what if?”
Practical individual learning is the best fit for them.
These individuals think carefully before acting, and like to learn in a concise and organised way.
They want to sit in on lectures, like examples and listen to experts.
Teaching them is best by providing a general theory, and then very precise examples.
This Learning Styles Inventory is necessary for all managers to understand that their staff members do not learn in similar ways.
When a new software programme needs to be taught, or new rules come out for your industry, some people may learn better in a group meeting setting, while others will require individual time to truly grasp the material.
Some will naturally stay quiet, while others will ask questions and raise their concerns.
This is not to annoy or question the leader, but a natural process of learning.
When employers will understand that their staff is different and needs a different teaching approach, mutual understanding and team communication will improve.
Head of Training and Development