According to some people, different “students” have different learning styles. Some others say its not so. Who cares? That will be my question today…
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…
- …BUT THIS DOESN’T MATTER IN THE REAL WORLD
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 🙂 )
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