For some, it is the introduction to anything new in life that teaches them a thing or two that they did not already know. For others, learning is the process of remembering any information that they are subjected to. Other groups believe that learning means being able to practically implement whatever knowledge they have gained.
In reality, the exact definition of learning does not matter. What matters is the process that goes on behind the merely apparent.
According to research, learning is far more than what we think it is. There have been new studies that can help make the process of learning more effective and fun.
Learning models are one aspect of this research, and anyone can use them to boost their learning process.
What Are Learning Models?
Learning models are any framework that defines the mechanism of learning.
A learning model is any form of learning new skills or information. These models have sub-categories that further divide into various learning styles.
Learning Style Models and Respective Learners
So, to understand learning models, let’s take a look at an example:
The internet is full of learning hacks. At times they work amazingly. But sometimes, they do not seem to work at all.
The hacks are not at fault here. It is the difference in learning styles of individuals and the science behind each respective style that causes this.
Therefore, the best way to put all these hacks and other learning tips to use is by understanding the process.
Learning is defined by 7 different models. Each one explains the process along with relevant learning styles that originate from the model.
1. Kolb Learning Style Model
This learning style is also known as the experiential learning theory. ((Simplypsychology.org: Kolb – Learning Styles))
David A. Kolb suggested in this model that learning is a cycle that comprises of four stages:
- Concrete learning
- Reflective observation
- Abstract conceptualization
- Active experimentation
In the first stage, the learner either experiences something new or goes through a variation of an old experience.
This leads to the next stage in which the learner reflects on the said experience. The understanding of this experience is completely based on the learner’s personal interpretation.
Based on this understanding, the learner goes through abstract conceptualization in which either new ideas are formed or old ones are modified.
In the last stage, everything that has been understood in the previous three stages is implied. The learner experiments with these new learnings in real life, the results of which then lead to a new cycle.
Based on this cycle, there can be four types of learners:
- Convergers: These learners usually focus on the third and fourth stages of the cycle. They like to experiment. For these individuals, it is important to apply their knowledge practically. Hence why they love technical tasks.
- Divergers: People with this learning style are more on the creative side of the spectrum. They like to imagine great extents, which help them come up with unique ideas. Divergers rely mostly on the first two stages of the cycle.
- Assimilators: Such learners take onto everything with the support of known information. They prefer conceptualization and reflection in absorbing information more effectively.
- Accommodators: Individuals with this learning style approach new tasks welcomingly. Their style is practical which is why their learning mostly comprises the last stage in the cycle.
2. VARK Learning Style Model
The acronym VARK explains the learning model itself. It stands for visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic learning styles. This model states that every learner experiences learning through any one of these processes.
So, of course:
Visual learners will be able to remember things they see better than the things they hear. Similarly, auditory learners absorb information best through audio sources, readers and writers like to do either of those, and kinesthetic learners gain knowledge by experiencing it.
As per this model, learners are divided into two types. Type one learners can switch between the four learning styles as per the need of the situation. However, type two learners are referred to as slow learners because they only have one preference.
3. Gregorc Learning Model
The Gregorc learning model looks deep into the way the mind works. ((Cortland.edu: Mind Styles – Anthony Gregorc))
As per this model, there is a dominant quadrant of the mind. Since this quadrant overpowers mental activity, it determines the learning style of every individual.
The first of these learning styles is concrete sequential learning. These learners learn via hands-on experience. The use of all senses is noticed in such learning.
There is concrete random. Such individuals can memorize knowledge quickly but then interpret is based on their prior knowledge. For example, a person learning the ukulele will have to relate the strumming pattern to an instrument they are already familiar with to learn it quickly enough.
Moving forward, there are abstract sequential learners. People with this learning style require an organized learning environment with a lot of learning tools, especially visuals, for a successful learning process.
Lastly, abstract random learners work in what seems like a disorganized manner. They have their own way to organize information in their mind as per their personal interpretation.
4. Hermann Brain Dominance
The Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) is a model that introduced a mechanism to identify the learning preferences of individuals.
Based on the results, this model suggests that learners can be theorists, organizers, humanitarians, or innovators.
Theorists prefer sequential learning, so they are good at memorizing information.
Organizers can only absorb new knowledge if all the information is arranged systematically.
Humanitarians focus on interpersonal thinking so their learning comprises of emotions, feelings, and expression of ideas. Group interactions are pretty common for humanitarian learners.
Lastly, innovators use existing knowledge to build upon with their creativity. Problem-solving and critical thinking are prominent traits of these learners.
5. 4MAT Learning Model
The 4MAT learning model is an extension of the Kolb model. However, it presents 4 different learning styles which include imaginative, analytical, dynamic, and common sense.
This model suggests that individuals who base their learning on experiences are learners who fall in the category of common sense.
Imaginative learners conceptualize these experiences, whereas analytical learners apply and refine the ideas too. Dynamic learners make use of all the steps but mainly base their learning on their personal interpretation.
6. Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model
This learning model is focused on the fact that every individual has their own preference when it comes to the process of grasping new information. Certain individuals may have multiple preferences, some may shift from one to the other, and some have only one.
Active and reflective learners, as the name suggests, are very hands-on. Active learning is their favorite method to learn.
On the other hand, sensing and intuitive learners focus on written facts and concepts. They can be presented with pre-existing ideas, and they will not have any issues memorizing them.
For example, if a PR strategist can work better based on previous research instead of experimenting around in real-life situations with new ideas, it would account for this style.
Sequential and global learners prefer organized and systematic learning.
Visual and verbal learners go for supporting tools such as words and graphics.
7. Honey Mumford Model
The Honey Mumford model is pretty similar to the Kolb model. It introduces the following learning styles:
- Activists: Active learners do things practically to gain knowledge from them.
- Theorists: People who like to learn from existing facts and figures fall into this category.
- Pragmatists: Such individuals conceptualize and experiment with ideas before they learn from them.
- Reflectors: These learners reflect on what they see and learn from it.
Improving Your Learning Ability with the Learning Models
It is pretty simple to figure out your learning styles. You can take an online test or simply pay attention to your preferred learning method. If you are aware of the various learning styles, it will not take you long to figure this out.
With your identified learning style, it is time to move backward.
Look at every single learning model and figure out which one your learning style falls under. Knowing this helps make your job easier.
Each learning model has a specific mechanism that explains the process of absorption of information. If you apply that when learning new skills and techniques in life, the process will become efficient and easy.
If you identify yourself as a visual learner, you can spend more time figuring out the mechanism of the VARK model. You can research learning techniques for this particular style to boost your learning capabilities.
In the end, it is evident that learning is a complex process. This deep phenomenon can be put to use very well if you can crack it successfully. Now that you have all the information regarding learning models, learning will not be a problem anymore, and you are now set for life!