I found this old school paper while cleaning out files tonight. Here it is, must have been a small project, only a page and a half. Thought people might find it interesting to read or not. I haven't been in the mood to write lately, but I'm sure my next post will be a whopper that will bring tears to your eyes and snot to your nose.
Since everyone has a different way of learning, one of the biggest challenges for teachers is to present their lesson in a way that is the most beneficial to each individual. Whether it is writing on a whiteboard, playing an audio clip, allowing the student to actual “do” the lesson, or a combination of
those methods and more, a student has certain ways that they learn best. David Kolb investigated
these ways and broke them down into several categories of learning (Werner, 2006, p.102) including
the two categories this post is going to look at: convergent and divergent.
A convergent learning style is one of thinking and doing (Werner, 2006, p.103). The learner tries to think about the problem, how they can practically solve it and then do so. This is someone that is more analytical and practical. This type of learner is someone who, because they think deeply on the situation, would be less likely to make a gut decision. However, when that decision is made, they want to be there doing what they have thought out and completing it themselves.
The divergent style of learning is different than the convergent. The divergent learner will look for other options, be more open to change, and make those gut decisions that it would be unlikely to see out a convergent style learner (Werner, 2006, p.103). They will sit back, evaluate the situation, and then make their decision, though probably changing it on the way. These learners are people that are more likely to learn from having options and coming at a problem from a non-traditional standpoint (Kilgour, 2008), than learn from being given a problem with a single answer to analyze.
Trying to teach two managers, one who learns in the convergent fashion and the other has a divergent style of learning, would be a difficult assignment. Training them in the same way would be fine, but training them in only one way would not be. In other words, giving them both a direct approach in feedback to analyze and carry out would be an advantage to the convergent learner, while having many methods of feedback and having them feel their way through what works best would benefit the divergent learner more.
The important thing to remember is that by playing to the strengths of each learning style, a trainer cannot only allows those types of learners to learn the way they do best, but it also will help the other learning styles as well, just not as much. Because though many people do seem to have a specific learning style that stands out, they often can learn in a variety of ways, perhaps just not at the level that they learn when using their main learning style. Often, by putting these two different type of learners together in the same training, they will not be able to generate “multiple ideas”, but will then be able to “correctly identify the best solution” to giving their employees feedback (Creativity and Innovation, 2007).
Creativity and Innovation: Must-Haves for Global Success.(2007). HR Focus, 84, (3), 8. Retrieved on May 22, 2008 from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=24309868&site=bsi-live
Kilgour, M. (2008). The Eureka Moment. NZ Marketing Magazine, 27, (3), 12. Retrieved on May 22, 2008 from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=31717929&site=bsi-live
Werner, Jon M & DeSimone, Randy L. (2006). Human Resource Development. Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western.