Learning Styles LO13522

Marc Sacks (msacks@world.std.com)
Wed, 7 May 1997 09:56:43 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO13481 --

On Tue, 6 May 1997 JanNoone@aol.com wrote:

> I am interested in finding one or more tools for assessing learning styles
> of individuals and of teams if there are any. Please reply if you know
> where I might look or if you have ones you can share.

The nearest thing to one I could recommend is David Kolb's Learning Styles
Inventory, published by McBer. It's short and sweet and easy to

The reason I say "the nearest thing" is that after doing research for my
doctorate on the subject I determined that academic models of learning and
cognitive style generally don't work in industry. Individual style seems
to be less important than corporate culture and management's view of
learning: that is, individuals within organizations, in adjusting to a
common culture and common management expectations, frequently take a
similar approach to learning to one another; this is not what one would
expect from academic models, which tend to view learning style and fairly
constant within an individual.

The reason I like Kolb, however, is not that is inventory itself is so
good but that his underlying "experiential learning" model does seem to
reflect what people really do.

If you'd like more information, (time to put in a plug here), consult my
the ACQUISITION OF KNOWLEDGE, Quorum Books, 1994. The book is an
ethnography of learning in real settings, with one chapter on
learning-style research. Also, consult David Kolb, EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING,
Prentice-Hall, 1984.

There was also a doctoral dissertation from the University of Georgia in
1998 that is a literature review of some 42 learning-style and
cognitive-style models. I don't remember the author and title at the
moment, but if you're interested, reply to this and I'll find out for you.

In any case, I think you'd be better off studying your organization and
the people in it than applying someone else's limited and artificial
model. Of course, time and budget may not permit this, and if your
management is not oriented to a qualitative approach, they may not
understand it ("Where are the numbers? I want DATA!"). For more info on
how to do this, reply or call me (or, of course, read my book). Good

Marc Sacks
Spyglass, Inc.
msacks@spyglass.com or msacks@world.std.com


Marc Sacks <msacks@world.std.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>