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Published on April 13, 2020

7 Different Learning Models: Which One Fits You Best?

7 Different Learning Models: Which One Fits You Best?

What does it mean to learn?

For some, it is the introduction to anything new in life that teaches them a thing or two that they did not already know. For others, learning is the process of remembering any information that they are subjected to. Other groups believe that learning means being able to practically implement whatever knowledge they have gained.

In reality, the exact definition of learning does not matter. What matters is the process that goes on behind the merely apparent.

According to research, learning is far more than what we think it is. There have been new studies that can help make the process of learning more effective and fun.

Learning models are one aspect of this research, and anyone can use them to boost their learning process.

What Are Learning Models?

Learning models are any framework that defines the mechanism of learning.

Basically:

A learning model is any form of learning new skills or information. These models have sub-categories that further divide into various learning styles.

Learning Style Models and Respective Learners

So, to understand learning models, let’s take a look at an example:

The internet is full of learning hacks. At times they work amazingly. But sometimes, they do not seem to work at all.

The hacks are not at fault here. It is the difference in learning styles of individuals and the science behind each respective style that causes this.

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Therefore, the best way to put all these hacks and other learning tips to use is by understanding the process.

Learning is defined by 7 different models. Each one explains the process along with relevant learning styles that originate from the model.

1. Kolb Learning Style Model

This learning style is also known as the experiential learning theory. [1]

David A. Kolb suggested in this model that learning is a cycle that comprises of four stages:

  1. Concrete learning
  2. Reflective observation
  3. Abstract conceptualization
  4. Active experimentation

In the first stage, the learner either experiences something new or goes through a variation of an old experience.

This leads to the next stage in which the learner reflects on the said experience. The understanding of this experience is completely based on the learner’s personal interpretation.

Based on this understanding, the learner goes through abstract conceptualization in which either new ideas are formed or old ones are modified.

In the last stage, everything that has been understood in the previous three stages is implied. The learner experiments with these new learnings in real life, the results of which then lead to a new cycle.

Based on this cycle, there can be four types of learners:

  • Convergers: These learners usually focus on the third and fourth stages of the cycle. They like to experiment. For these individuals, it is important to apply their knowledge practically. Hence why they love technical tasks.
  • Divergers: People with this learning style are more on the creative side of the spectrum. They like to imagine great extents, which help them come up with unique ideas. Divergers rely mostly on the first two stages of the cycle.
  • Assimilators: Such learners take onto everything with the support of known information. They prefer conceptualization and reflection in absorbing information more effectively.
  • Accommodators: Individuals with this learning style approach new tasks welcomingly. Their style is practical which is why their learning mostly comprises the last stage in the cycle.

2. VARK Learning Style Model

The acronym VARK explains the learning model itself. It stands for visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic learning styles. This model states that every learner experiences learning through any one of these processes.

So, of course:

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Visual learners will be able to remember things they see better than the things they hear. Similarly, auditory learners absorb information best through audio sources, readers and writers like to do either of those, and kinesthetic learners gain knowledge by experiencing it.

As per this model, learners are divided into two types. Type one learners can switch between the four learning styles as per the need of the situation. However, type two learners are referred to as slow learners because they only have one preference.

3. Gregorc Learning Model

The Gregorc learning model looks deep into the way the mind works. [2]

As per this model, there is a dominant quadrant of the mind. Since this quadrant overpowers mental activity, it determines the learning style of every individual.

The first of these learning styles is concrete sequential learning. These learners learn via hands-on experience. The use of all senses is noticed in such learning.

Next:

There is concrete random. Such individuals can memorize knowledge quickly but then interpret is based on their prior knowledge. For example, a person learning the ukulele will have to relate the strumming pattern to an instrument they are already familiar with to learn it quickly enough.

Moving forward, there are abstract sequential learners. People with this learning style require an organized learning environment with a lot of learning tools, especially visuals, for a successful learning process.

Lastly, abstract random learners work in what seems like a disorganized manner. They have their own way to organize information in their mind as per their personal interpretation.

4. Hermann Brain Dominance

The Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) is a model that introduced a mechanism to identify the learning preferences of individuals.

Based on the results, this model suggests that learners can be theorists, organizers, humanitarians, or innovators.

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Theorists prefer sequential learning, so they are good at memorizing information.

Organizers can only absorb new knowledge if all the information is arranged systematically.

Humanitarians focus on interpersonal thinking so their learning comprises of emotions, feelings, and expression of ideas. Group interactions are pretty common for humanitarian learners.

Lastly, innovators use existing knowledge to build upon with their creativity. Problem-solving and critical thinking are prominent traits of these learners.

5. 4MAT Learning Model

The 4MAT learning model is an extension of the Kolb model. However, it presents 4 different learning styles which include imaginative, analytical, dynamic, and common sense.

This model suggests that individuals who base their learning on experiences are learners who fall in the category of common sense.

Imaginative learners conceptualize these experiences, whereas analytical learners apply and refine the ideas too. Dynamic learners make use of all the steps but mainly base their learning on their personal interpretation.

6. Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model

This learning model is focused on the fact that every individual has their own preference when it comes to the process of grasping new information. Certain individuals may have multiple preferences, some may shift from one to the other, and some have only one.

Active and reflective learners, as the name suggests, are very hands-on. Active learning is their favorite method to learn.

On the other hand, sensing and intuitive learners focus on written facts and concepts. They can be presented with pre-existing ideas, and they will not have any issues memorizing them.

For example, if a PR strategist can work better based on previous research instead of experimenting around in real-life situations with new ideas, it would account for this style.

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Sequential and global learners prefer organized and systematic learning.

Visual and verbal learners go for supporting tools such as words and graphics.

7. Honey Mumford Model

The Honey Mumford model is pretty similar to the Kolb model. It introduces the following learning styles:

  • Activists: Active learners do things practically to gain knowledge from them.
  • Theorists: People who like to learn from existing facts and figures fall into this category.
  • Pragmatists: Such individuals conceptualize and experiment with ideas before they learn from them.
  • Reflectors: These learners reflect on what they see and learn from it.

Improving Your Learning Ability with the Learning Models

It is pretty simple to figure out your learning styles. You can take an online test or simply pay attention to your preferred learning method. If you are aware of the various learning styles, it will not take you long to figure this out.

Next:

With your identified learning style, it is time to move backward.

Look at every single learning model and figure out which one your learning style falls under. Knowing this helps make your job easier.

Each learning model has a specific mechanism that explains the process of absorption of information. If you apply that when learning new skills and techniques in life, the process will become efficient and easy.

Therefore:

If you identify yourself as a visual learner, you can spend more time figuring out the mechanism of the VARK model. You can research learning techniques for this particular style to boost your learning capabilities.

In the end, it is evident that learning is a complex process. This deep phenomenon can be put to use very well if you can crack it successfully. Now that you have all the information regarding learning models, learning will not be a problem anymore, and you are now set for life!

Need More Help Learning More Effectively?

Featured photo credit: NordWood Themes via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Simplypsychology.org: Kolb – Learning Styles
[2] Cortland.edu: Mind Styles – Anthony Gregorc

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on January 19, 2021

What Is Learning by Doing And Why Is It Effective?

What Is Learning by Doing And Why Is It Effective?

The list of teaching techniques is ever-expanding as there are multiple ways for us to gain knowledge. As a result, there are multiple techniques out there that leverage those particular skills. One such technique I want to share with you is learning by doing.

This technique has been around for a long time, and it’s a surprisingly effective one thanks to the various perks that come with it. Also called experiential learning, I’ll be sharing with you my knowledge on the subject, what it is deep down, and why it’s such an effective learning tool.

What Is Learning by Doing?

Learning by doing is the simple idea that we are capable of learning more about something when we perform the action.

For example, say you’re looking to play a musical instrument and were wondering how all of them sound and mix. In most other techniques, you’d be playing the instrument all by yourself in a studio. Learning by doing instead gives you a basic understanding of how to play the instrument and puts you up on a stage to play an improvised piece with other musicians.

Another way to think about this is by taking a more active approach to something as opposed to you passively learning about it. The argument is that active engagement provides deeper learning and that it’s okay if you make mistakes as you learn from those as well. This mentality brought forth a new name for this technique: experiential learning.

What Are Its Benefits?

Experimental learning has been around for eons now. It was Aristotle who wrote that “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

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Over the years, that way of thinking changed and developed and for a time was lost once computers were integrated into schools. It’s only been in recent years where schools have adopted this technique again. It’s clear why teachers are encouraging this as it offers five big benefits.

1. It’s More Engaging and More Memorable

The first benefit is that it’s more engaging and memorable. Since this requires action on your part, you’re not going to be able to weaken your performance. This is big since, traditionally, you’d learn from lectures, books, or articles, and learners could easily read—or not read—the text and walk away with no knowledge at all from it.

When you are forced into a situation where you have to do what you need to learn, it’s easier to remember those things. Every action provides personalized learning experiences, and it’s where motivation is built. That motivation connects to what is learned and felt. It teaches that learning is relevant and meaningful.

Beyond that, this experience allows the opportunity for learners to go through the learning cycle that involves extended effort, mistakes, and reflection, followed by refinement of strategies.

2. It Is More Personal

Stemming from the reason mentioned above, learning by doing offers a personal experience. Referring back to the cycle of effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement, this cycle is only possible through personal emotions—the motivation and realization of knowledge of a particular topic tying into your values and ideals.

This connection is powerful and thus, offers a richer experience than reading from a book or articles such as this one. That personal connection is more important as it encourages exploration and curiosity from learners.

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If you’ve always wanted to bake a cake or cook a unique dish, you could read up on it or watch a video. Or you could get the ingredients and start going through it all yourself. Even if you make mistakes now, you have a better grasp of what to do for the next time you try it out. You’re also more invested in that since that’s food that you made with the intention of you having it.

3. It Is Community-Connected

Learning by doing involves the world at large rather than sitting alone in your room or a library stuck in a book. Since the whole city is your classroom technically, you’re able to leverage all kinds of things. You’re able to gather local assets and partners and connect local issues to larger global themes.

This leans more into the personal aspect that this technique encourages. You are part of a community, and this form of learning allows you to interact more and make a connection with it—not necessarily with the residents but certainly the environment around it.

4. It’s More Integrated Into People’s Lives

This form of learning is deeply integrated into our lives as well. Deep learning occurs best when learners can apply what they’ve learned in a classroom setting to answer questions around them that they care about.

Even though there is a lot of information out there, people are still always asking “what’s in it for me?” Even when it comes to learning, people will be more interested if they know that what they are learning is vital to their very way of life in some fashion. It’s forgettable if they’re unable to tie knowledge in with personal aspects of their lives. Thus, experiential learning makes the application of knowledge simpler.

5. It Builds Success Skills

The final benefit of learning by doing is that it builds up your skills for success. Learning by doing encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, discover something new, and try things out for the first time. You’re bound to make a mistake or two, but this technique doesn’t shame you for it.

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As a result, learning by doing can build your initiative for new things as well as persistence towards growth and development in a field. This could also lead to team management and collaboration skill growth. These are all vital things in personal growth as we move towards the future.

How to Get Started

While all these perks are helpful for you, how are you going to start? Well, there are several different approaches that you can take with this. Here are some of them that come to mind.

1. Low-Stakes Quizzes

In classroom settings, one way to introduce this technique is to have many low-stakes quizzes. These quizzes aren’t based on assessing one’s performance. Instead, these quizzes are designed to have learners engage with the content and to generate the learned information themselves.

Research shows that this method is an effective learning technique.[1] It allows students to improve their understanding and recall and promotes the “transfer” of knowledge to other settings.

2. Type of Mental Doing

Another approach is one that Psychologist Rich Mayer put together. According to him, learning is a generative activity.[2] His knowledge and the research done in his lab at Santa Barbara have repeatedly shown that we gain expertise by doing an action, but the action is based on what we already know.

For example, say you want to learn more about the Soviet dictator Stalin. All you need to do is link what you do know—that Stalin was a dictator—and link it to what you want to learn and retain. Stalin grew up in Georgia, killed millions of people, centralized power in Russia, and assisted in the victory of World War 2. This technique even applies to the most simple of memory tasks as our brain learns and relearns.

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3. Other Mental Activities

The final method I’ll share with you is taking the literal approach—getting out there and getting your hands dirty so to speak. But how you go about that is up to you. You could try reading an article and then going out and applying it immediately—like you could with this article. Or maybe you could find further engagement through puzzles or making a game out of the activity that you’re doing.

For example, if you wanted to learn about animal behavior patterns, you can read about them, go out to watch animals, and see if they perform the specific behaviors that you read about.

Final Thoughts

Learning by doing encourages active engagement with available materials and forces you to work harder to remember the material. It’s an effective technique because it helps ingrain knowledge into your memory. After all, you have a deeper personal connection to that knowledge, and you’ll be more motivated to use it in the future.

With that in mind, I encourage you to take what you’ve learned from reading this article and apply that in the real world. It’s only going to benefit you as you grow.

Featured photo credit: Van Tay Media via unsplash.com

Reference

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