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Live and Learn Learning Pack reviewed


Title: Live and Learn Learning Pack
Author: Peter Honey
Publisher: Peter Honey Publications (e-mail [email protected])
Date: 1998
Price: current price unknown
ISBN: 09524389 7 6
Format: A4 folder containing video and workbook

The Live and Learn Learning pack from Peter Honey Publications is one of several publications across various media that Peter Honey has produced over the past twenty years. Designed to be used either by individuals on an open learning basis, by pairs (for example, a mentor and a mentee) or for groupwork, the pack contains a short video, a facilitator’s guide and an A4 ringbinder of photocopiable resources. These include ideas for training sessions, accompanying worksheets and a number of questionnaires. Like the learning styles questionnaire that Honey and Mumford developed several years ago, these consist of 40 questions, and there are separate versions for individuals or those working in pairs. The scoring measures learning behaviours, and the extent to which we take advantage of learning opportunities presented to us. For each facet of learning behaviour there is a one page worksheet raising questions for self-analysis or small group work.

The video contains a short presentation by Peter Honey on the importance of learning and the different ways in which we learn, and ideas on how to use the pack. There are also a number of short vignettes – talking heads, graphics sequences and media extracts – to illustrate three models of learning. One dimensional learning is a one way process of receiving information, which often leads to retention problems. Two dimensional learning involves using other people as sounding boards, and is a more reciprocal process. Finally, three dimensional learning adds the key dimensions of transferability (using learning in different contexts), learning about learning, and seizing learning opportunities as and when they arise. Not surprisingly, we all need to work towards becoming conscious, opportunist three dimensional learners.

Trying out the pack for pair work and with a small group, we found the questionnaires particularly effective when used by colleagues to rate each others’ learning behaviours. Reflecting on how others see us is almost always a rewarding learning experience, and these questionnaires are well supported by follow up material to help focus on the most effective ways of learning. However, I didn’t find much in the pack which related to Honey’s earlier work on learning styles – the 4 stage learning cycle is summarised in an appendix, but the types of learning (theoretical, pragmatic, activist and reflective) don’t appear to feature any more.

The video got a mixed reception. The messages about learning to be drawn from some of the short snippets are a bit difficult to work out – I didn’t get a great deal from the silent movie of a woman being chained to a railway track, or the Mondrian painting – but the thought bubbles showing a learner going through French verb structures (j’achete, tu achetais) while queuing in a supermarket was good at illustrating how to seize learning opportunities whenever they arise. The guide advises watching the video several times – presumably familiarity breeds greater clarity.

The importance of learning how to learn effectively can’t be overstressed. As Peter Honey observes in one of his recent articles, many current e-learning offerings fail by assuming that everyone learns in the same way – “churning things out on a hit and miss basis, but on a screen instead of on paper, and maintaining that it caters for people’s needs, simply will not do”. Not everyone learns best from whizzing graphics or bouncy soundtracks. However, some of us do – and novelty can be quite a good motivator as long as it’s not overdone. The key thing is to be able to reflect on how we learn successfully, and seek out instances of what works best for us.

Overall, this pack is a very useful tool for trainers or managers who really wants to help others to learn effectively - and they can also use it to improve their own learning. Unfortunately. it doesn’t seem to feature in the list of publications currently listed on Peter Honey’s website, but there are a lot of other similar resources listed there, and the site is well worth a visit. There’s a free newsletter too.

Live and Learn Learning Pack was reviewed by David Evans, E-Learning Consultant, Financial Projections Ltd.


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