Honey and Mumford Learning Styles - A simple picture

Here is a simple view of one of the most famous Learning Styles theories.

Take a look at the diagram below and see which speech bubble comes in to your head when you are trying to learn something new.

Do you think you fit in to one of these boxes or do you flex your approach depending on the situation?

Let us know in the comments below.

It is important to acknowledge that whilst Learning Styles are widely accepted & integrated in to the Learning & Development field there is little scientific research that actually supports that designing learning interventions to meet different 'Learning Styles' makes a difference to the learning outcome. 

So where does this leave us?

Take a look at this article on learning styles

The key thing is to be aware and to find what works for you in terms of style and technique.

Do we all have ONE learning style? Do we have this same learning style ALL THE TIME? Do we change over time or is this a constant do you think?

And I guess most importantly, what does all this mean to the way that we design and facilitate learning in our organisations?

Would be interested to hear your views.

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  • I am an activist, i like to get involved and get my hands dirty, i find that giving something a go gives you the opportunity to get it wrong. Learning from your mistakes is a quicker more effective way of learning.

    • Hi Melanie

      I'd totally agree that doing is a great way to learn. 'Experiential Learning' is proven to be productive. Maybe that's more likely to be called 'learning-in-the-flow' these days.

      I'd debate learning from mistakes though, I prefer learning from success - I like someone to show me how to get things right and avoid pitfalls.  Or is that the same thing?


      • Hi Gary,

        I would say in a training/learning enviroment learning from your mistakes is good, it helps you memorise the correct process. By making that mistake you are then more likely to be conscious of it and make sure the mistake is not repeated?

        If you are constantly successfull, you may be prone to thinking you dont need to put as much effort in or listern / try as hard as you may need to?

        I may be totally wrong ! :)

        • I can totally see your point that we don't want to be given a false sense of security or misplaced confidence that could snowball into complacency. For sure.

          I guess where I am coming from is that I used to train trainers. I would get disheartened when they would set up tasks for their trainees where the trainees had not been given enough guidance (from the trainer) on how to succeed - so the trainee always failed. This then made the trainees, understandably, reluctant to engage with further training.

          Taking it to the extreme, the old 'chuck them in at the deep end and see if they sink or swim' is what is conjures up in my head when we talk about learning from mistakes. But I'm guessing that is going to the extreme and isn't what you mean! I'm probably over-sensitive due to my previous experience 😊

          Interesting debate, as I can see both sides have benefits (your side and mine I mean - not the trainers that I used to work with😉).

  • I think I'm more of a theorist as I need to know 'why' for everything. Once i'm able to understand why, it builds a foundation of where I can continue learning and build on what I have learnt. I'd then say I would say I lean towards towards Activist, putting myself into the action (hoping my why question has helped me!)

  • My preferences lean towards Pragmatist and Activist; I like to understand how my learning relates to my role and I like to put the learning into practice as soon as I can.  However, during this coursework, I'm realising more and more that I also use the Reflector and Theorist styles.  In the face-to-face courses we run in my organisation, we try to cover all four learning preferences.  We often break up our leaners into smaller groups for skills practice sessions.  It hadn't crossed my mind to sort them into groups containing different learner styles, but I like this idea very much.  I'll be looking at how we can do this in future.     

  • I have used learning styles at the start of most of my courses and tend see the same styles mainly reflectors and activists. I sit across all Four personally which I think is an advantageous but I struggle if faced with a group of theorists together ! It is very interesting and when I have challenging days this often due to the styles in the group. It just takes a bit od thought - in group work for example pairing the people carefully, often the reflectors work well together but sometimes putting an activist with a reflector can help as they can often complement each other. I have learned with a group of reflectors to always allow time for review otherwise they cannot move in the next topic. Fascinating stuff!

  • I think that people use a good mix of learning styles, but have a dominant one to 'solidify' what they've learnt. 

    E.g. Watching an instructional video, taking notes, (possibly re-writing the notes), then following the written instructions to complete the learning

     Myself, I'm a good mix, and can't say that I lean more towards one than the other... though this could a case of using each style for different situations. I think there's definitely times where people will try to learn something using their preferred method, but have changed to another that best suits the topic/content. 



  • Hi. I am currently midway through my level 3 L&D course. At work, for the last two years, I have made all new starters do a VAK test consisting of thirty questions on day one of their induction training. With groups of ten or more, it's no suprise that all three learning styles came up for one or more of the trainees.


    The learning styles of each indivdual are passed onto all colleagues who help with the training (e.g. 'x'% of trainees are auditory etc). The idea was that, my colleagues who are doing training could alter their content towards the groups learning style(s) however, due to the fact that all learning styles were present, this meant that content wasn't changed; it was just checked to make sure that it had an equal amount of activities for each learning style.


    Even though there isn't a lot of evidence to prove that people do have learning styles, I do still find the theory useful. My colleagues who help and build classroom based training modules are not qualified trainers. Understanding this theory is useful for them as it gives them a guide on how to build a piece of training. Without it, training might turn into a meeting as that might be my colleagues prefered style to give information.


    From my own experience; I think that I am/have been all three different learning styles at some point during my life. It depended on what I was doing and how old I am/was. I believe your learning style changes quite often.


    I think that the key to this piece of theory is not to see 'what learning style you/they are'; it's more to understand that an array of different activities are needed so that all trainees understand your content. It just so happens that these 'different activities' fit nicely into the bands visual, auditory and kenthestic.

  • Hi, in just starting this section in Level 3 L&D, it resonates to when i trained as a life coach and we covered the H&M learning style amonsgt some others.  In my experience and what I continue to observe today just in general life at work and with friends and peers in my personal life and journey of personal develoment, I feel different learning styles are interesting and helpful to know about and be aware of as it can help try and connect better with an individual to maximise their learning, but I always want to look at the person themselves first and then use the resources and library of styles to reach out to. As i think I ahve been all four at separate times in life and all 4 together LOL

    In my own exprience of life so far, i think I have adapted and changed over the years and I never feel like just one label of a 'type' i feel this itself can maybe limit a person as maybe for example, a manager may think an employee learns a certain way just based on their exprience with the employee but not knowing fully what they care about and what it is about the content of what they want/need to learn is.  Style can be effective but I believe the connection between the indiviudal and the content of what they want to know is what holds the answer to their key to success.  Interesting article to read and very helpful ,thank you :-)

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