We have looked at the four learning styles. To summarize them, we have:
1. The Active Learner–let me get my hands on it!
2. The Pensive Learner–let me review a description of it.
3. The Passive Learner–let me see it!
4. The Reflective Learner–tell me how it fits into the grand scheme of things.
Now, having discussed these, it is important to note that people have a mixture of learning styles. No person will be 100% one learning style, but will have elements of each learning style, typically with one dominant and one secondary style influencing their learning.
Learning Styles should not be confused with Personality Styles. There are countless tools people use to evaluate individual personalities, and a wide variety of names for the personality styles. Some refer to controllers and analyzers, some use animals (beaver, golden retriever, etc.). These have nothing to do with learning styles. Any personality style can be matched with any learning style. As a trainer, your focus is on the learning, not the personality.
People can change their learning styles, believe it or not. Non-pensive learners who survived college probably shifted learning style to some degree.*
It is not necessary to ascertain someone’s learning style to effectively train them. With experience, a trainer can usually identify a trainee’s learning style and work with it.
With four learning styles, one may wonder, “do I need to create four different training programs?” The answer to that question is a resounding “no.” (Otherwise, you would have to identify each learner’s style and assign them to the correct program.) One training program will suffice, but it must have elements that address each learner’s needs.
* When it comes to changing learning styles, it is not a cost-effective thing to do. In fact, when companies do attempt to change learning styles, they have found that the costliest is to change a Pensive learner to another style. The reason is that the learner is ex-Pensive.