Exploring Different Learning Models

As you move forward on your career path you’re going to encounter many different types of people. One of the main differences between each one is going to be his method of learning, so as someone in a management position you’re going to need to recognize that different learning styles exist so that you can adapt to them effectively.

Three of the most popular learning models are the Sudbury Model of Democratic Education and those created by David Kolb and Anthony Gregorc.

The Sudbury Model of Democratic Education was actually formed as a critical response to the way our educational systems treat those with learning disabilities, the way our special education systems are developed, and the responses we take when forming an intervention. The Sudbury Model asserts that there are several unique and distinctly different ways to learn and that each person needs to find his own best method. Education is something you must participate in; not something that can be shoved down your throat.

David Kolb’s model states that education is based on concrete experiences, the ability to form abstract conceptualizations, reflective observation, and active experimentation. He believes that all four of these scientific approaches need to be incorporated into a learning process in order for it to be effective, but admits that each learner will become strong in only one or two areas.

Anthony Gregorc’s learning model is based upon his theories describing exactly how the mind works. He believes we all base our learning experiences on either concrete or abstract perception and that we each operate under one ordering ability, either random or sequential. There are four different combinations of perceptions and ordering abilities and each person will focus on his or her dominant strengths.

These theories may seem complex, but as managers we tend to focus more on whether or not our employees are visual, auditory, or tactile learners. Learning what types of learners you will be working with in advance will help you to tailor your training sessions accordingly.

Do you have a method of evaluating your employees? Do you ever wonder why some people always seem to “get it” when you train them while others don’t? Share your experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 14 January, 2009

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