The Learning Style of Leaders

The Learning Style of Leaders

What is your learning style? Depending on when you attended school, you may have been tested and/or identified as a particular type of learner: the way you process and retain information. Typically, most children learn through the five senses, including seeing, hearing, touching, and doing/moving (which can include tasting/smelling). As adults, we bring depth of experience and greater self-awareness to our learning. The theory of learning styles is not new and has evolved since it was introduced in the 70’s by social psychologist David A. Kolb. According to Kolb, our styles are based on genetics, experiences, and current environment. With his colleague Ron Fry, Kolb identified a four-stage experiential learning cycle: Observation of concrete experiences Reflection and interpretation of observations (creation of hypothesis) Formation of abstract concepts (generalizations) Testing of new concepts in different situations Learning Preferences Kolb and Fry posit that learning preferences are based on two continuums: Active experimentation <—>  Reflective observation Abstract conceptualization <—> Concrete experience When combined, the two dimensions create four learning styles: Converger (Active & Abstract) This type of learner is known for their practical application of ideas. Accommodator (Active & Concrete) Known for their agility and adaptability, this type of learner is an active, risk-taking doer. Assimilator (Reflective & Abstract) This type of learner is known for their research and planning abilities, and they excel in creating theoretical models. Diverger (Reflective & Concrete) Known for their ability to see the big picture and create meaning, this type of learner is often most creative. Understanding learning styles can help us become better leaders. However, we can achieve greater success—personally and professionally—by learning how...