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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.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

Ady Howes - Community Manager, DPG

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  • when I try to learn new things I want to understand underlying reasons. concepts and relationship. So for a long time I think I'm definitely a theorists leaner. But recently years I do feel my learning style changes.

    For example: My learning style is theorists , this is related to the eastern education I got.Eastern school believe discipline is the key for performance.so personally I'm not good at discussing in classroom. I prefer lecturing style and I like sitting in a classroom and making notes to learn. But since I came to the UK all the workshop I attended or delivered they are all not like the traditional way I’m used to . It involves a lot of activities and brainstorming. At the beginning I feel difficult to adapt to but now it seems ok. And I enjoy more invovling in workshop , this happy feeling starts to have a positive impact on my learning.

  • I have recently been watching some golfing tutorial videos on YouTube created by a guy called Shawn Clement.

    Over the years I have tried to adopt and improve my game with one one one lessons, reading books and articles, gadgets, tweaking on the range and the course myself and never until watching Shawns videos have I see such instant results in improvement in my game.

    What Shawn does brilliantly (whether he is aware of this or not i’m not sure) is he demonstrates and explains things in the most simple of terms (can I think about this) and repeats this a couple of times and then gives the theory/science in more detail (why does this work) and then shows you evidence of it working (I want to do this/how does it work in the real world) 

    He relates the mechanics of a golf swing to simple natural tasks such as throwing a stone or horseshoe, chopping a tree, cutting the head off a dandelion and cutting grass. It is the only form of learning in terms of golf i’ve been able to go and apply instantly and not had to think about 10 things “I should be doing” at once and it’s unbelievable how well it has worked for me.


    So I do believe it is possible when the subject suits, in this case golf, that learning that covers all four of Honey and Mumfords learning styles/preferences in a blended learning approach can infact be incredibly impactful because when ever I have tried them individually I have had limited or no results.

    this said to learners will invariably have varied levels of experience, enthusiasm, motivation and understanding so to create a dream piece of learning that will suit all is pretty much impossible and that the scale and depth of the learning will always be most important to the medium in which it is delivered.

  • I always liked the idea of learning styles, whether be it Kolb, H&M, VARK, and I have always felt a strong pull towards some of these when thinking about my own style (activist/reflector as a style, kinaesthetic/visual as preference).

    This said, many articles I have read recently seem to dispute the validity of learning styles theories, and some of these doubts are raised in the wired.com articled linked above.

    So, what I have been wondering over the last year or so is:

    • how much do learning styles actually affect an individual's ability to absorb a concept?
    • Is it something we should prioritise when creating or facilitating a learning programme?
    • Shoud we not aim to stretch ad grow individuals by addressing their improvement areas, rather than playing to their strengths?


    Would love to hear some views on this.

  • I’m quite conscious of having different learning styles dependant on how much I know the subject, my confidence in being able to pick this up easily, what’s the consequences of me needing to understand this in depth, is this a long knowledge I need to understand, for example will I need this again or is the knowledge I require deeper. When creating learning programmes.... there is a need to be absolutely aware of this but not forgetting that we have adult learners, but these are new skills that they require, with nassive implications for our patients.

  • I always thought I was a reflector, however as my career and indeed confidence has grown I find I have a prefernce for each one depending on the situation.

    If it's a flat pack piece of furniture I'll look at the instructions, yet if it's a piece of new technology I just want to get on and do - the danger there is I may not be using all of it's functions.

    Ultimately I think it's great to be aware of your own preferences in certain situations to make sure you get the most out of each learning opportunity - and that your delegates do too!


  • I think I'm multimodal when it comes to learning styles / preferences. The dominant mode I operate in depends very much on the context for me. I like to think that each 'style' is part of a reflective cycle which I aim to follow 1. do 2. review 3. learn 4. apply (Honey & Mumford / Kolb hybrid). Each stage of this cycle is necessary and corresponds with H&M's 1. activist 2. reflector 3. theorist 4. pragmatist. 

    A key point for training / learning activities is surely variety - a buffet/smorgasbord - but not just for it's own sake, it has to be relevant, valid & coherent - and always supporting and consolidating the intended learning outcomes.

  • I believe i am a blend of all...depends of the situation. I would say primarly pragmatist as I mostly go for the usseful and practicals... ideeas...

  • I think I am a blend of all 4, with activist as the prime style....  I need to understand the why that is said to be the right way, how will it be applied, how I could apply it, and are there other factors that could change it....

  • I always thought I was a "Activist" very much need to be hands on to learn but now looking further into this I am a blend of Activist and Reflector - i need to process the information and then I want to jump in and have a go 


    • HI Paulo

      Great to hear back from you. Back in the day when I'd bought into Learning Styles, I felt I was an activist and reflector together too. I have to say, nowadays, I don't put much value on the theory of learning styles. I find that I'm a mixture of them all dependant on scenario.

      Some situations, I like to dive in and learn by doing..... on others.. .I like to take a day or two to reflect then give things a go.

      And there doesn't seem to be much pattern behind which I select either.

      How do you find that mixture of styles? Are there particular situations where you adopt one more than the other?


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