The Four Learning Styles

By Evan Kamau

In learning, certain comparisons help and others hurt. Don't compare yourself to experts or your teachers. The worst comparison is to compare yourself to your ideal type, because you always lose. Don't compare yourself to other people because they are different types. They can do stuff you can't do and vice versa. Your only comparison should be between yourself and where you were when you began.

We take in information in two ways: through our senses and through intuition. Once we take in the data, we evaluate it in terms of thinking or in terms of feeling.

There are two axes. The vertical axis goes from concrete experience (feeling) to abstract conceptualization (thinking). The horizontal axis goes from reflective observation (intuition) to active experimentation (sensing).

  • Divergers - are first quadrant people. They start with concrete experience and reflect on it.They ask the question, "Why is it important?" They need to have a reason to be emotionally involved.

  • Assimilators - are those that have reflective observations and combine it with abstract conceptualization. They ask the question "What?" They are information junkies and look for the ideas. They enjoy theory and want to know why things work.

  • Convergers - are the people that take theories and apply them. The engineers and the technicians. They are all about the "How-to" They want to know the step-by-step procedures. They enjoy labs, experiments, cooking and fixing stuff. They want hands-on experience.

  • Accommodators - take active experimentation and then go out and do it in order to combine it with concrete experience. They take what has been experimented on, that also works, and they use it in the world. They ask, "What if?" They don't care why it works or how to do it; they care about application and experiential learning.

    In a problem solving cycle, the Diverger compares whatever it is to reality and identifies any differences. Then the Assimilator selects the problem and considers alternative solutions. The Converger evaluates the consequences of the solutions and selects one solution. Lastly, Accommodators execute that solution and choose a model or goal.

    As a student you should realize that you are good at different things and you should organize tasks based on what you are best at. We all have a learning style that's useful for some things and not useful for other things.

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