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Trainer’s Tip: Learning Styles Line Up


This week's tip, from Joanna Howard, is a simple and effective exercise to demonstrate learning styles.

Using a line along the floor as a continuum from theorist to activist, I ask people to place themselves on the line in response to the question: "Imagine you have to do something new, rather challenging, and you want to look good. Imagine you only have two choices - to get more information and some kind of framework (one end of the line) or do something straightaway and see what happens (the other end of the line- where would you put yourself along that line?

Then when they are in a line, I say: "Now imagine you have another choice - same situation and a second choice to the one you've just taken. This time you choose between reflecting and observing others or making a plan and trying something out." I draw the second line (making a cross in the room) and ask people to stay at the level of their first position on the first line but move backwards or forwards either towards reflector end or the pragmatist end of the second line.

Then they are asked to look around, see where everyone else is, think about the implications. I often ask them to talk to someone in a very different position and try to understand that different approach. I use various other discussion topics depending on the group.

It has always been a very successful exercise, "interesting and fun" is often the feedback. I've sometimes followed it up with a H&M (Honey and Mumford Learning Styles) questionnaire, and the results come out much the same.


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