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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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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

7 Hardest Languages to Learn For English Speakers

7 Hardest Languages to Learn For English Speakers

What are the hardest languages to learn? It depends on what your native language is. If it’s English, you’re in the right place.

When you peel the onion back to the beginnings of language formation, such as by studying the language families tree below, you will be able to see where different languages branched off. Now, you may be able to notice why Spanish has similarities with languages like German, Italian, French, etc.

That’s why the hardest languages to learn for native Korean speakers will be different from those that are hardest for native English speakers like us. Today, we’re going to focus solely on the hardest languages to learn for English speakers (hint: they’re located in different branches on the language tree).[1]

Language tree

    If you’re looking for official statistics, the Defense Language Institute (where they teach members of the CIA foreign languages) has organized languages into four categories, the 1st Category being the easiest, and the 4th Category being the hardest languages to learn for English speakers.

    • Category 1: Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese
    • Category 2: German, Indonesian
    • Category 3: Hebrew, Hindi, Persian Farsi, Russian, Serbian, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, Turkish, etc.
    • Category 4: Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Modern Standard Arabic, etc.

    Before we take a closer look and see which of the above are the most difficult languages to learn, you can check out this TED Talk with John McWhorter to help you get inspired to learn a new language:

    1. Mandarin

    Number of native speakers: 1.2 billion

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    Country with the greatest number of speakers: China

    It may be the most widely spoken language in the world, but it is particularly challenging for English speakers. It is often spoken of as being the hardest language in the world to learn (and certainly the most difficult language on this list!).

    First, since Mandarin is a tonal language, you can have a completely different meaning of a word just by changing your tone. Just take a look at this visual of the four tones, and you can begin to imagine the difficulties this could cause English speakers[2].

    Mandarin tones in one of the hardest languages to learn

      Add to that thousands of characters, complex systems, Chinese dialects, and the language’s richness in homophones,[3] and you’ve got one of the hardest languages to learn in the world.

      2. Icelandic

      Number of native speakers: 330,000

      Country with the greatest number of speakers: Iceland

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      While the Icelandic language has not changed much since the island was settled in the ninth and tenth centuries[4], it continues to add new meaning to old words. It also doesn’t help that there are fewer than 400,000 native speakers who you can learn and practice with.

      3. Japanese

      Number of native speakers: 122 million

      Country with the greatest number of speakers: Japan

      Japanese has three independent writing systems[5]: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Before they can start writing, Japanese learners need to learn thousands of different characters in these writing systems. It is, however, significantly easier to learn than Mandarin!

      4. Hungarian

      Number of native speakers: 13 million

      Country with the greatest number of speakers: Hungary

      Most languages spoken in Europe come from the Indo-European language family shown in the tree above, but not Hungarian. It is, instead, a Finno-Ugric language[6] in which words are formed in an isolated manner.

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      In other words, it’s one of the hardest languages to learn because the word order is nothing like how English speakers normally structure words or sentences. For example, “with my [female] friend” is combined into just “barátnőmmel.” If you’re confused, don’t worry. So are we.

      5. Korean

      Number of native speakers: 66.3 million

      Country with the greatest number of speakers: South Korea

      Korean is a language isolate, which means it isn’t linked to any other language family root. It also has seven different speech levels that native speakers flip back and forth to depending on the formality. The image below just begins to scratch the surface of the complications caused by the speech levels and the use of honorifics[7]:

      korean speech levels: how to address other people

        6. Arabic

        Number of native speakers: 221 million

        Country with the greatest number of speakers: Egypt

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        Despite having 221 million native speakers you can potentially learn from, Arabic is still one of the hardest languages to learn. First, vowels are not included when writing. And, to complicate things further, most Arabic letters are written in four different forms, depending on the placement of the word.

        7. Finnish

        Number of native speakers: 5.4 million

        Country with the greatest number of speakers: Finland

        If you’ve ever watched The Lord of the Rings, you’ll know about the strange language the elves speak. The Finnish language is what the author J.R.R. Tolkien based the Elvish language on[8]. Finnish, like Hungarian, is a Finno-Ugric language in which grammar complications are taken to the extreme, which makes it difficult for English speakers.

        Furthermore, just when you’ve got the hang of translating Finnish to English, you’ll quickly find that modern Finnish speakers have their own way of expressing emotions that’s different from the traditional translation!

        The Bottom Line

        The hardest languages for English speakers to learn depends on a number of different factors, not just one. The number of speakers, the language’s origins, its similarity to English, and other factors contribute to determining how much difficulty you’ll have learning it.

        However, what’s important is not which is the hardest language to learn. As with learning any language, it comes down to how passionate you are about learning, how you’ll deal with psychological fears, and who you will go to for help.

        Every language will come with its own challenges, but it’ll also come with its own rewards, experiences, and fulfillment. Remember, whichever language you decide to learn, your time will be well worth the investment.

        More Language Learning Tips

        Featured photo credit: ORIENTO via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Soho Press: THE PROTO-INDO-EUROPEAN FAMILY
        [2] MIT: Mandarin Tones
        [3] Wikipedia: Homophonic puns in Mandarin Chinese
        [4] Iceland: Language
        [5] Dartmouth: Japanese Writing Systems
        [6] Britannica: Finno-Ugric languages
        [7] LingoDeer: Korean Speech Levels
        [8] Omniglot: Quenya

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