The Honey and Mumford Learning Cycle

Let’s be honest. There is no way you’re going to be lucky enough to develop a team of employees in which every member has the exact same learning style. Therefore, you must be able to adapt your training methods so that they resonate within each individual.

The Honey and Mumford learning cycle states that an individual won’t actually learn anything from an experience until the teacher has come full circle and illustrated the ultimate conclusion. Therefore, showing an employee a series of steps in a process will mean nothing to him if he is unable to see firsthand what the end results are going to be.

There are, of course, different types of leaning styles. According to Honey and Mumford, these include the following:

Activists are ready and willing to perform shorter tasks in the present. They enjoy lectures, reading, exercises, and activities in which they don’t have to be immediate leaders.

Reflectors don’t like to participate while they are learning. They’d prefer to sit and watch first, let the information absorb, plan their own course of action, and then implement the new techniques they’ve learned.

Theorists prefer models, theories, and anything that presents an idea in an organised fashion. The models don’t even have to be realistic as long as they make a point.

Pragmatists search for realistic examples that relate directly to the task at hand. They don’t want to waste time with hypothetical situations when they could be learning how to apply something directly to their own job tasks.

Most people lean strongly towards one style of learning or another while maintaining the ability to learn from others. You must simply be prepared to work with your employees to determine which method of learning is best, especially if you see that he doesn’t understand a concept as it was presented.

Each employee is an individual and should be treated as such, even in a learning situation.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 23 October, 2008

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