Developing Training Field Manual

The world is changing and so is the world of learning and development. This 'wiki' is intended to be a ‘field-book’ or ‘manual’ for trainers who are supporting changing organisations into the future. This document is not a how-to manual although such insights may be in evidence. Rather, it provides the next generation with ideas and approaches to their own practice drawn from the inquiry of others .

It is a participative space where ICTI members can chip in with their own perspective, suggest areas and topics to be added or correct errors and update with more recent ideas and practice.

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Approaches to Learning

The world of Learning Styles gets very mixed reviews. Many of those working in adult education dismiss the notion of learning styles as a framework or model for planning and delivering training events. Frank Coffield and his colleagues (2004) took a very helpful and critical view of the field and largely concluded that there was inadequate evidence to support the theory that individual learners have a tendency to prefer one or another approach to learning delivery than another.

Others observe that they see learning styles in operation in their training rooms every day. There is evidence that can be observed that each student is different and chooses to learn differently.

Our sense is that the work of David Kölb (1975, 1984) indicates that learning is best when all our senses are engaged but that our natural preferences suggest that we tend to avoid those 'styles' that we do not prefer and, therefore, our learning is potentially less effective.

Kolb experiential learning cycleIn addition, we suggest that trainers tend to create learning experiences that they are most comfortable with and so give preference to learning styles that they are most comfortable with. Our suggestion is that knowing Kölb's learning cycle and using a learning style approach which builds upon it can help us engage learners with all the learning styles and thereby strengthen their learning.

For this purpose we prefer the approach of Peter Honey and Alan Mumford although there are other approaches to learning styles which could be used.

We offer, here, the opportunity to investigate your own learning style which will allow you to reflect upon how you can develop your training activities to support your learners more effectively.

Follow this link to the online Learning Style questionnaire which includes further background and explanation.

Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., and Ecclestone, K. (2004) Should We Be Using Learning Styles? What Research Has to Say to Practice. London: Learning and Skills Research Council

Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (2000) The Learning Styles Helpers Guide. Maidenhead: Peter Honey Publications
Kolb, D.A. and Fry, R. (1975) ‘Toward an Applied Theory of Experiential Learning’. in Theories of Group Process. ed. by Cooper, C. London: John Wiley
Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall

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