Sunday, November 14, 2021

Learning styles based on experiences

Experiential learning is still an effective mode of developing people. 70:20:10 methodology is commonly used to develop talent. It is believed that 70% development happens when people are actually doing the job which they want to learn. This includes actual on the job training, project assignments, short term or long-term assignments, job enrichment, job rotation etc. 20% development happens when people are watching, observing the job and learning from others. This also includes coaching and mentoring, and 10% development happens through attending training and workshops. 

Hence while designing any people development initiatives, we need to focus more on 70% aspect and that can’t be effective with external agencies or trainers. Most of the talent and people development initiatives fail because we ignore the uniqueness of personalities while designing such development programmes. We all have different learning styles. Those styles are developed based on different experiences. Generally, experiences play a major role in learning and development. Based on the experiences people have, there are 4 types of learners. 

  • Learning activists,
  • Learning reflector,
  • Theorist 
  • Pragmatist 

Learners can switch or start their learning at any stage, but their dominant styles decide which learning stage they are effective at.

Learning Activists are the people who learn through experiences and have a preference for this stage of the learning cycle are always active and can't sit still. They always want to try something new. One example is the person who always seems to have a new hobby. This stage is for having an experience. 

They are usually open minded, enthusiastic and thrive on challenges. They get bored easily and are not overly concerned with implementation or consolidation.

As a manager or HR professional you can bet on them to give them more responsibilities. These learners have strong learning agility and are definitely high potentials. 

Learning reflectors have a preference for gathering data. They don't particularly like a "hands on" approach or reaching a conclusion quickly.  They think and reflect on what information or experiences they have. They are naturally cautious and like to observe rather than take part.

As a manager, you can rely on these employees. You can groom them and push them towards having more experiences. They may be in comfort zones, and you have to push them in the growth zone.

Theorists have a preference for reaching a conclusion quickly. They tend to like things which are in order. They value theories that are logical and rational. They feel most comfortable where things "fall into place". They conclude fast through their experiences. 

Lateral thinking or discussions that do not have a direction do not come easily to them

You can retain them but don’t expect more from them like activists and reflectors. 

Pragmatists are the people who are keen to try out the theories and ideas to see if they work in practice. They are down to earth and would not reflect on the merits of a theory but the practical aspects. They are attracted by what works for them. They are good planners and find opportunities to practice but if they are not convinced, they will not listen. These learners are not highfliers but then if you want to change something drastically, you will not be able to push these learners. 

Each person has a preference for one of these styles and therefore as the organisations we should always consider these aspects while designing your talent management and people development initiatives. Every individual should be aware of their own style of learning since this will influence the way in which they will build their experience and execute their learnings. 

Managers and HR professionals need to be aware of the preferences or learning styles of those who will be developed for the future roles. 

Learners can pick up the learnings at any stage and can switch the style based on the experiences as under: 

(This article is inspired from the Learning States Theory developed by Dr Alait Mumford and Peter Honey.)

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkartPothi and BookGanga. Income from books is used for social cause. 

No comments:

You may also like these.. please read