Are you an activist who thrives on challenges? Are you a reflector who likes to think about concepts and observe from a far? Perhaps you’re more of a theorist who likes to take a very logical approach to thinking.
If you’re not sure which style suits you most, then perhaps you’d benefit from a range of learning style preferences tests. Our MBA cohort, was fortunate enough to have time allocated for this self-discovery as we underwent a battery of questionnaires to ascertain our own preferences for learning at the beginning our program.
One of which, was the Honey and Mumford questionnaire which took about 10-15 minutes to complete. It contained a series of 80 questions where you indicated if you “disagreed” or “agreed” with the given statements. When graded, it would then rate your varying degree of preference on a scale for each of the respective learning styles of either Activist, Reflector, Theorist or Pragmatist. I actually fell right in the middle with “strong to moderate preferences” in both of the “Reflector” and “Pragmatist” groups. When Reflector’s are solving a problem they like to thoroughly think about all of the data, varying perspectives and observations made from related experiences. Whereas pragmatists are keen to try to solve the problem by experimenting with new ideas and challenging their validity.
What was most interesting was hearing about my classmates results. Even though we’ve only been a cohort for a short time, it was easy to tell who the activists were, as they were continually the ones who just wanted to begin the task. While other’s who turned out to be theorists, were always up for a healthy debate on any ideas presented. Whereas the reflector’s of the group were sure to consider everyone’s view point. Knowing your own learning style is valuable so you can adjust your study habits to suit your preferences or work towards enhancing your less preferred style. It’s also extremely valuable to understand other’s preferences, especially when working with or leading teams.
We also took another learning model inventory called the VAK which tested if we had tendencies towards learning more visually, auditory or kinesthetically. Many of us were tied between two types with a degree of flexibility between them. The interesting thing that we noticed, was that the groups that had similar types in the Honey & Mumford test, were often also closely aligned in their VAC learning styles. Some of my cohort brought the argument that perhaps our learning styles are not entirely inherent but are also influenced by the culture that we were brought up in and the style of teaching that we are most accustomed to.
What do you think, are people’s learning styles intrinsic or are they a preference that’s been derived from their cultural influences?
Chimeren Peerbhai is currently studying MBA at Westminster Business School
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