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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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Published on April 15, 2021

9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective

9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective

You have probably heard of the saying, “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.”

That old cliché gets thrown around quite a bit in educational circles, but what really goes into inspiring people to become independent, lifelong learners? Read on to learn more about self-regulated learning and how to make it more effective.

Self-Regulated Learning

One theory about teaching people how to learn is through self-regulated learning. In the broadest sense, it’s the idea that individuals should set their own learning goals and work independently and with a sense of agency and autonomy to achieve those goals. It’s the opposite of a teacher handing out a worksheet and students completing it just because the teacher told them to.

Self-regulated learning is constructive and self-directed.[1] Instead of the worksheet example, self-regulated learning involves the students setting their own learning goals, deciding how to best achieve those goals, and then systematically and strategically working toward them. Teaching strategies like the Workshop Model and Portfolios are more aligned with self-regulated learning than a one-size-fits-all worksheet or lecture.

Workshop Model

The workshop model consists of three parts. Class begins with a mini-lesson, then students spend time working independently while the teacher circulates conferencing with students. Finally, the class ends with some kind of summary derived from what students learned through their independent work.

Heavy hitters in the workshop model are Lucy Calkins and Nancie Atwell.[2][3] Their work has been instrumental in spreading best practices so that teachers know how to create truly student-led learning experiences.[4]

Portfolios

Another example of an instruction that’s moving toward self-regulated learning is student portfolios. Students set learning goals and periodically reflect on whether or not they’re achieving those goals. They keep all their reflections and student work in folders and have periodic conferences with their teacher on how they’re pressing toward their goals.[5]

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The problem though is that the workshop model and portfolios require a different mindset and skillset from teachers. That’s where the theory of self-regulated learning comes in.

3 Elements of Self-Regulated Learning

One approach to self-regulated learning is to break it down into three components: regulation of processing modes, regulation of the learning process, and regulation of self. Dividing self-regulated learning in this way helps teachers know how to best help students work toward their individual goals, and it also gives us a glimpse into how we all can become more self-regulated learners.

1. Regulation of Processing Modes

The first step in self-regulated learning is to give learners a choice in how and why they’re learning in the first place.

In our worksheet example, students are completing the task because the teacher said so, but when we reset why we’re learning in the first place, we’re starting to create a foundation for self-regulated learning.

One educational researcher, Noel Entwistle makes a distinction between three different reasons for learning, and his work makes what we’re all working toward a lot clearer. Students can try to reproduce or memorize information, they can try to get good grades, or they can seek personal understanding or meaning.[6]

The goal of self-regulated learning is to encourage students to move away from the first two learning orientations (following orders and trying to get good grades) and move toward the third, learning for some kind of intrinsic gain—learning to learn.

2. Regulation of Learning Process

The next level of self-regulated learning is when students are in charge of their own learning process. This is also known as metacognition. Studies have shown that when teachers do most of the heavy lifting—deciding what’s working and not working for each student—there’s a reduction in students’ metacognitive skills.[7]

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When I was teaching middle and high school, we had a saying that if we left the building at the end of the school day more tired than the students, we hadn’t done our job. What that means is that teachers have to find a way to get students to do the heavy lifting of metacognition—thinking about thinking. And students need to accept the challenge and become curious about what’s working and not working about their individualized and (at least, partially) self-generated learning plans.

Boosting metacognition might include learning about how the brain works, what metacognition is all about, and all the different learning styles. Becoming curious about your individual strengths and learning preferences is crucial in beefing up your metacognitive skills.

3. Regulation of Self

Finally, there’s goal setting. If students are going to become truly self-regulated learners, they have to start setting their own goals and then reflecting on their progress toward those goals.

How to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective

Now that you’ve learned the important elements of self-regulated learning, here are 9 ways you can make it more effective for you.

1. Change Your Mindset About Learning

The first way to become a self-regulated learner is to change your mindset about why you’re learning in the first place. Instead of doing your schoolwork because the teacher says so or because you want the highest GPA, try to move toward learning to satisfy your curiosity. Learn because you want to learn.

Sometimes, this will be easy, like when you’re learning something on your own that you’ve self-selected. Other times, it’s tougher, like when you have a teacher-selected assignment due.

Before mindlessly completing your assignment, try to find “your in.” Find what’s fascinating about the topic and cling to that as you complete it. Sure, you need to complete it to graduate, but by finding the morsel that’s interesting to you, you’ll be able to start experiencing a more self-regulated kind of learning.

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2. Explore Different Learning Styles

There are lots of different ways to learn: auditory, visual, spatial, and kinesthetic. Learn what all those styles mean and which ones feel especially effective for you.

3. Learn How Learning Works

Another great way to become a more self-regulated learner is to learn how learning works. Read up on cognitive science and psychology to figure out how we form memories, how we retain information, and how our emotions affect our learning. You have to understand the tools you’ve been given before you can wield those tools most optimally.

4. Get Introspective

Now it’s time to get introspective. Do a learning inventory and reflect on when you’ve been most and least successful in your learning.

What’s your best subject? Why? When did you lose interest in a subject? Why? Ask yourself tough questions about how you learn, so you can move forward more strategically.

5. Find Someone to Tell You Like It Is

It’s also helpful to find someone who can be honest about your learning strengths and weaknesses. Find someone you trust who will be honest about your learning progress. If you lack self-awareness about your learning style and abilities, it’s difficult to be a self-regulated learner, so work with someone else to start becoming more self-aware.

6. Set Some SMART Goals

Now it’s time to set some learning goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. They’re a great way to become a self-regulated learner.[8]

Instead of just saying, “I want to get better at Spanish,” you might set a SMART goal by saying “I want to memorize 100 new Spanish vocabulary words by next week.” Next week, you can test yourself and measure whether or not you’ve achieved your goal.

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It’s difficult to see how we’re progressing and learning when our goal is vague. Setting SMART goals gives you a clear barometer for your learning.

7. Reflect on Your Progress

Goals don’t mean much unless you measure your progress every now and then. Take time to determine whether or not you’ve achieved your SMART learning goals and why or why not you did. Self-reflection is a great way to boost self-awareness, which is a great way to become a self-regulated learner.

8. Find Your Accountability Buddies

Armed with your goals and deadlines, it’s time to find some trustworthy people to help keep you accountable. Now, your learning progress is your responsibility when you’re a self-regulated learner, but it doesn’t hurt to have some friends who know what your goals are. You can turn to this trustworthy group to discuss your learning progress and keep you motivated.

9. Say It Loud and Proud

There’s a phenomenon where we’re more likely to attain our goals when we’ve made them public.[9] Announcing our goals helps hold our feet to the fire. So, figure out a way to make your learning goals known. This might mean telling your accountability buddies, your teacher, or maybe even a social media group.

Just know that you’re more likely to succeed when you’re not the only one who knows what your goals are.

Final Thoughts

Self-regulated learning is learning for learning’s sake. So, change your entire attitude about why you’re learning in the first place. Choose what you want to know more about or start with what interests you most when assigned a topic or project.

Then, set SMART goals and periodically reflect on your progress. Self-awareness is a skill that can be practiced and improved. Make learning your job and your responsibility, and you’ll be well on your way toward becoming a self-regulated learner.

You’ll never need to blame your learning struggles on someone or something else. Instead, you’ll have the self-awareness and abilities to be able to take your learning into your own hands and find a way forward no matter your current situation and limitations.

Featured photo credit: Josefa nDiaz via unsplash.com

Reference

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