Models of Management: Learning Styles
In the mid 1970’s Peter Honey and Alan Mumford adapted David Kolb’s model of Experiential Learning for use with a group of middle and senior managers. They published their version of the model in The Manual of Learning Styles in 1982 and Using Your Learning Styles in 1983.
The 4 Stages of Experiential Learning
Honey and Mumford's model re-designed Kolb's model to fit in with managerial experiences of decision making and problem solving. In their version the stages of experiential learning are:
1. Having an experience
2. Reviewing the experience
3. Concluding from the experience
4. Planning the next steps.
4 Kinds of Learner
From their model, Honey and Mumford suggested that there were four types of learner based on where people's natural preferences were on the four stages. Honey and Mumford called them Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist and defined them as follows:
a. Activists: those who like to immerse themselves fully in new experiences and who act first and consider consequences later.
b. Reflectors: those who like to stand back and observe and who tend to be cautious until they have all the facts.
c. Theorists: those who like to think through problems in a logical manner; keen on basic assumptions, principles, theories, models and systems thinking.
d. Pragmatists: those who like to put theories into practice and who are impatient with long-winded discussion.
A Practical Model to be Used
One of the key recommendations by Honey and Mumford was that managers should use the model to identify those stages of learning where they could improve rather than stick to the one style they preferred. In the UK, the questionnaire devised by Honey and Mumford was found to be the most widely-used model for discovering learning styles.