Learning is not always the same experience for everyone?
When I kick off the management training sessions prior to a Lean implementation, I talk about learning styles and about 99% of the people stare at me with blank expressions. I think it should be mandatory for anyone in a management position to understand the different types of learning styles. Why do I believe this?
Learning styles are a mirror into the way another person interprets the world and take in information. There are four main learning styles. In standard education they only uses one style, which is the one the teacher prefers, and that is their own. Human learning has been packaged into one box for over a century when all the data proves that we are multifaceted beings. We learn by converting declarative knowledge, which is usually an oral transfer of information and convert it into procedural knowledge, which is physical activity. A learning curve is the conversion time required to develop the expertise to perform the activities.
David Kolb is an expert in the field of experiential learning and he developed a model of the four learning styles, which are:
- Divergers: They learn through discovery that is based on a logical process of instruction or even a hands-on experience with conversation.
- Convergers: They learn through interaction and like to try out their ideas to see if they work. There is a tendency towards the use of trial and error.
- Accomodators: They learn through a hands-on experience rather than being lectured too.
- Assimilators: They learn through discussion that has a logical format and starts from a conceptual level and works down into the detail.
As you can see from this list, if a facilitator is using one learning style, they are only engaging one specific group in the class. They are disengaging the people in the other three learning styles. Learning is a two way communication process where people absorb and retain information. It is important for facilitators, manager, etc. to understand that “Communication is not about what you say, it’s about what the other person hears.”