An activist is a person who learns through actions. They revel in new experiences and learn best when they are involved in something challenging. An activist will often be very enthusiastic to work in competitive teamwork situations, but become easily unresponsive when already learned information must be executed. They are constantly looking for new things to do and get bored when the novelty of something wears off, causing them to lose enthusiasm quickly.
They learn best when put in situations were they can lead a group, taking charge, role-play situations and when they can publicise their views without contradiction or criticism. An activist will struggle to learn in a solitary environment and when given information in a repetitive manner.
A reflector is someone who prefers to observe and evaluate situations from a variety of perspectives, reaching a conclusion only when they have analysed the information and observed others’ views. Tending to stand back and remove themselves from involvement in situations, this caution can be observed as reluctance to contribute and indecisiveness. Reflectors learn most effectively on the occasions that they are given time to analyse situation and consider they’re attitude. They prefer to contribute only after others have concluded a general point of view.
Reflectors will struggle to learn when put in situations where they must lead or directly input their ideas. Theorist: A theorist is someone who prefers to learn using models and theories, using steps as a rational and clear method of coming to conclusions. A theorist will often discount emotion when thinking and will be intolerant of emotive responses and indecision.
Theorists will learn most effectively when in a situation involving clear fundamental ideology and with a distinct composition. They enjoy being intellectually challenged, but this can become a problem when there is indecisiveness within the group. They do not find situations involving emotions, intuition or spiritual ideas easy to deal with, preferring ideas that have been proven and are logical observations.
Pragmatist: A pragmatist is a person who prefers to test theories and ideas. They are practical and enjoy problem solving. They like challenges and will often be very enthusiastic towards the task and apathetic towards anything else, like the people involved. Unconcerned with the basics and origins of ideas, a pragmatist will prefer to get stuck into the practical aspect of an assignment. A pragmatist will find it difficult to learn when a practical aspect to an idea is not available or instigated quickly. They also will become frustrated and lose interest if a conclusion to a problem is not acquired promptly.
Honey and Mumford advise learners to decide which learning style describes them the best, and then work on the others to improve their learning skills to their potential. After studying the different types of learners, I have concluded that I am an activist learner. I enjoy group work in which I often take the lead, also role-play, in which I am known to have a lead role in. I dislike working on my own, finding I get easily distracted and bored. I prefer a range of activities used as methods to learn, rather than one style, like a lecture or a long-term project.
I aim to improve all aspects of my learning, including the styles I am less capable with. I am going to review my learning experiences and examine the goals I have established within my learning experience, both the ones in which I have been successful, and the ones I have not been able to improve my competence in. Subsequently, I will state the relevant changes needed to improve my learning experience and ability. My personal learning style, I feel, is Activist. Therefore, I must try to improve the others.
Firstly, I must determine my goals in this area to work on. I decided that one of my main aims in the reflective aspect of my learning was to stop and think. This would, I felt, help me learn new skills, while developing the skills I already have. To achieve my aim, I was going to have to change my ways dramatically. My current routine was very haphazard, for example, when I think of doing something, I tend to do it without thinking. In some of my lectures, I was very loud and made conclusions very fast without thinking, for example, in a group situation, often making me wrong. To improve my attitude, I had to improve my reflector qualities.
I decided to write down more information in classes, rather than shout out a judgement, then think about the ideas myself and then come to a conclusion. I took more time over tasks, this helping me in my judgement and my understanding of the subject. In group work situations, I would often take lead and boss people about. I was always ‘the writer’, and I always put forward my view quickly without letting anyone else speak. To stop this, I became a little more quiet and listened to people’s views on the subject more carefully, rather than trying to influence everyone else with mine. This move has improved my listening skills, in turn improving my understanding and tolerance of the less contributive members of my group.
I feel I have been very successful in improving my reflective skills. The exercise has made me more vigilant in my attitude to tasks and I pay more attention to others within the situation before reaching a conclusion. My next aim was to improve my pragmatist side. I am often very verbally contributive in classes and social situations, but not practically. I tend not to input much practical knowledge or be directly involved in the practical side of the problem solving. I prefer to stand back, discussing and informing as opposed to actually taking part in the activity myself.
This needs to be improved. Through improving this, I will learn new practical skills and become more confident in participation in practical activities. Pragmatists involve themselves in planning the next steps of something and when set a task, get down to completing it immediately, while I tend to discuss it for a long time, often too long, which affects the amount of work I complete. To improve my pragmatic skills, I decided to become more organised in the way I go about completing tasks, focusing on the completion of the assignment rather than the debate and talk surrounding it.
Thirdly, I attempted to improve my skills as a theorist. A theorist is someone who learns well from things that are solid and scientifically proven. They disregard emotion or intuition. I feel I am least capable as a theorist. I let emotion get in the way of everything, and this dramatic approach sometimes confuses others, and me, when the problem is quite simply solved with a model, a table or a rational discussion. I tried to become less emotive when learning, not to a submissive stage, but with a more passive attitude. Unfortunately, I always felt I was missing out in some way and this docile approach did not last for long.
Although I feel I did not succeed in the attempt to become more theorist, I felt that overall my learning style was developed through this exercise. I learned to listen more, therefore improving my understanding and the way others treated me in a group situation, this being with more ease. There are many ways that I can enhance my learning style. Apart from the aforesaid method, I can work on the things that it is said that activists can learn best from. Honey and Mumford advise activists to take up opportunities to work within a group situation often. Also it is advised that an activist work in a flexible environment where there are few limitations so as to achieve their full potential. Also, it is advised that an activist seek out new experiences and focus on things that challenge them to the best of their ability.
A modern method of learning: I was advised to look into E-Learning to improve my knowledge and my learning skills. E-learning is a very popular method of learning that is now used in most institutions in some respect. E-learning is the use of the electronic sources to gain knowledge. However, Peter Honey recently produced a survey intended to disclose you ‘e-learning style.’ He found that Activists do not benefit from e-learning a large amount because they prefer their learning to be a quicker process, learning that they can be challenged with rather than the ‘set you own pace’ way in which e-learning teaches. Activists are likely to be less disciplined in their learning when they are in a solitary environment (like when learning from a computer) and they find it difficult to be organised enough to complete the task in hand, without the motivation gained from being in an alternative environment, namely a group/ teamwork position.
Honey states that Theorists and Pragmatists are more likely to be successful in their e-learning because of their ability to work alone and their attitude that other people being involved is unnecessary, as their time-management skills are superior to that of an activist and a reflector. However, by improving myself in the fields I am weak in, I plan to become efficient at e-learning, to have more discipline and overall, improve my understanding and knowledge.