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Learning Styles
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WHAT ARE LEARNING STYLES?

The unique way in which an individual combines the four approaches to learning can be classified as a "learning style." Research indicates that individuals combine the four different approaches to learning into four different learning styles. The learning styles are Converger, Diverger, Assimilator, and Accomodator.

     Converger—Combines the learning approaches of Abstract
Conceptualization and Active Experimentation. People with this learning style are best at finding practical uses for ideas and theories. A preference for this learning style indicates an ability to solve problems and make decisions based on finding solutions to questions or problems. These individuals would rather deal with technical tasks and problems than with social and interpersonal issues.This learning style is important for effectiveness in specialist and technology careers.

     Diverger—Combines the learning approaches of Concrete Experience and Reflective Observation. People with this learning style are best at viewing concrete situations from many different points of view. A preference for this learning style indicates one in which the individual would be more likely to sit back and observe a new situation than take action. These individuals enjoy situations that call for generating a wide range of ideas, as in brainstorming ses­sions. They also tend to have broad interests and like to gather in­formation. This learning style is important for effectiveness in arts, entertainment, and service careers.

     Assimilator—Combines the learning approaches of AbstractConceptualization and Reflective Observation. People with this learning style are best at understanding a wide range of information and putting it into concise, logical form. A preference for this learning style indicates a high interest in abstract ideas and concepts and a lesser focus on people and feelings. These individuals find it more important that a theory have logical soundness than practical value. This learning style is important in science and information-related careers.

     Accomodator—Combines the learning approaches of Concrete Experience and Active Experimentation. People with this learning style have the ability to learn primarily from hands-on experience. A preference for this learning style indicates a willingness to get involved in new and challenging experience and to carry out already developed plans. These individuals tend to act on gut feelings rather than on logical analysis. In solving problems, they may rely more heavily on people for information then on technical analysis. This learning style is important for effectiveness in action-oriented careers such as direct production positions or sales positions.

WHAT IS THE LEARNING-STYLE INVENTORY (LSI)?

Fortunately, there exists a method for determining which part of the learning cycle is most useful to an individual while learning. It is called the learning style inventory (LSI). The LSI is a self-assessment instru­ment developed by David Kolb to evaluate the way an individual learns.

The LSI is a self-descriptive instrument that assesses an individual's preferred method of learning. It describes how a person deals with ideas and day-to-day situations in which he or she must learn new informa­tion. The LSI is typically self-administered, self-scored, and self-inter­preted. The results allow a person to identify their learning style, which in turn helps individuals to understand how they absorb and deal with new information. It also provides insight into how they teach. People tend to conduct and deliver training in the same style they prefer to learn.

The LSI is a 12-item questionnaire. Each item asks the learner to rank-order four sentences ending in a way that best describes how they prefer to learn. The instrument design is determined by three objec­tives. The first is that the test is brief and straightforward so that it can be used in discussing the learning process with individuals and provid­ing feedback. The second design objective was that the test be con­structed in such a way that individuals respond to it somewhat as they would respond to a learning situation. Third, the instrument is designed to help predict behavior in a way consistent with the theory of experi­ential learning.

The instrument is then tallied and scored to determine an individual's relative emphasis on each of the four learning orientations. The LSI determines which of the four learning styles are most favored by an individual. It also helps an individual to determine which methods he or she should focus on when learning new information. Most people can complete the LSI within 10 minutes, and complete administration, scoring, interpretation, and discussion can be accomplished in under two hours.

To Be Continued


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