Once upon a time there were 7 billion #LearningStyles

According to some people, different “students” have different learning styles. Some others say its not so. Who cares? That will be my question today…


Hypothesis N° 1  = There are 4 learning styles and we should adapt to them all


Trainers have told me this time-and-again. I learnt it in a TTT class 10 years ago and I have said the same thing to TTT participants myself. I feel so ashamed!

How can this be?? Is it really possible that of the 7 billion people currently alive on planet Earth that there are only 4 learning styles? Common sense knows this is wrong.


Hypothesis N° 2 = There are more than 7 billion learning styles


When I was a boy, my mother used to tell me “You are special”. The idea that “No human being is the same as another” is currently fueling the strengths-movement (read @mwbuckingham ). What can it do for the learning world?

If we believe in Hypothesis N°1, then every time we design a learning initiative, we need to either know exactly which learning style participants have (and adapt to that) or we need to include something for everyone.

If we believe in Hypothesis N°2 and the principle of adapting learning approach to learning style, we are potentially in BIG TROUBLE!


Hypothesis N°3 = It really doesn’t matter


This is my idea today, fresh from my morning shower. And its simple:

  • Learning = acquisition + implementation of required competences
  • Competence = knowledge, skills, attitude
  • There may be 7 billion ways that people like to acquire and implement knowledge, skills and attitude…


Solution –> Don’t adapt your learning initiatives to learning styles, adapt to the working reality of the people

I think the challenge for learning professionals is not to worry about adapting their learning initiatives to the learning styles of different people. Companies don’t adapt their working reality to those styles. PEOPLE have to ADAPT TO the working REALITY in which they find themselves.

What is the job of a learning professional? To help people become and stay good at the stuff they need to do. How can this be done in line with Hypothesis N°3 ?

  • Focus on the stuff people need to do
  • Help them to adapt themselves to their reality
  • Supply real-time real-world workflow learning opportunities
  • In training, put them in Authentic Learning situations


Thanks for reading

Follow me on Twitter (today I will start naming the 7 billion learning styles 🙂 )

Visit www.infinitelearning.be

Leave a comment


Published by Dan Steer

For the last 17 years, I have been helping businesses and individuals to achieve their goals through delivery of tailor-made learning and development initiatives. Most of the time, I deliver training, coach individuals, facilitate brainstorming sessions, round-table meetings and workshops. As a consultant, I help my clients to promote and profit from the infinite learning opportunities within and without their own organisation, drawing on my L+D management experience, strategic approach and creativity, As a speaker, I inspire through story, humour and pertinent little bits of theory. I believe that the world would be a better place if people were happily working on their mission with competence and alignment to personal values. As a freelance worker since 2008, I have helped more than 11000 individuals to improve their presentation, communication, commercial, leadership and negotiation skills. I confront people with their own behaviour and convictions, facilitating and giving pertinent feedback and clear ideas on where to continue good work and improve. I seek to satisfy my clients with creative and to-the-point solutions… …and I make music, but no-one pays me much for it yet :-) First single here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0ShlY95X4E

Join the Conversation


  1. Great post !

    About “PEOPLE have to ADAPT TO the working REALITY in which they find themselves”.

    Isn’t it too restrictive, limited to their perception of the reality ?

    Would prefer “PEOPLE have to CHALLENGE the working REALITY in which they find themselves”.

  2. Teachig at a school we are forever adjusting our lessons for the variety of students we teach. Your post made me smile, as what you say is so valid “Companies don’t adapt their working reality to those styles”, my colleagues and I experience that every day, all day. I agree with what you said, we need to “help them to adapt themselves to their reality”

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: