17 Sep 2017
Honey and Mumford learning styles were developed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford in 1986. Their work is inspired from and built upon Kolb’s learning styles model (Leaver, 2005). however, they produced their own Learning Styles Questionnaire (LSQ) because it was found that Kolb’s LSI had low validity with managers.
Therefore instead of asking people directly how they learn, as Kolb’s LSI does, Honey and Mumford gave a questionnaire that probes general behavioral tendencies. The rationale behind this is that most people have never consciously considered how they really learn. And to be an effective learner, individuals must know about their learning styles or preferences and find ways to learn using those methods.
To help with finding the correct learning style or preference, Honey and Mumford have developed a questionnaire built on a continuum as the figure shows below. Knowing your learning style helps individuals to make smarter decisions in adjusting the learning opportunities and your preference of best learning, increases the range and variety of experiences which are potential learning opportunities, improves learning skills and awareness (Zwanenberg, 2016).
The four learning styles are (Mobbs, 2010):
Activists: Activists are those individuals who learn by doing. Activists need to get their hands filthy. They have a receptive way to deal with learning, including themselves completely and without inclination in new encounters. The learning activities can be brainstorming, problem solving, group discussion, puzzles, competitions, role-play etc
Theorists: These learners get a kick out of the chance to comprehend the hypothesis behind the activities. They require models, ideas and truths with a specific end goal to participate in the learning procedure. Like to break down and integrate, drawing new data into a methodical and consistent ‘hypothesis’. Their choice of learning activities includes models, statistics, stories, quotes, background information, applying concepts theoretically etc.
Pragmatists: These individuals have the capacity to perceive how to put the learning into practice in their present reality. Conceptual ideas and recreations are of constrained utility unless they can see an approach to put the concepts practically in their lives. Experimenting with new ideas, speculations and methods to check whether they work is their mode of action. They learn better through taking time to think about how to apply learning in reality, case studies, problem solving and discussion.
Reflectors: These individuals learn by watching and contemplating what happened. They may abstain from jumping in and prefer to watch from the sidelines. They want to remain back and see encounters from various alternate points of view, gathering information and using the opportunity to work towards a suitable conclusion. They like paired discussions, self-analysis questionnaires, personality questionnaires, time out, observing activities, feedback from others. coaching, interviews etc.
Another survey by Peter Honey did not reveal any particular ‘e-learning styles’, although as a result of his research he speculated that ‘Activists’ (those with an open-minded approach to learning and wish to involve themselves fully in the experience) would want the pace to be faster and the chunks of time to be shorter than ‘reflectors’ (those that prefer to stand back and view experiences from an number of different perspectives first).
He also suggests that Activists might find it more difficult to motivate themselves and find time to complete the tasks than ‘Theorists’ (who like to analyse and synthesise, drawing new information into a systematic and logical theory) and ‘Pragmatists’ (experimenters, who try out new ideas and techniques to see if they will work) who are likely to be more disciplined and better at planning it into their schedules. Time management skills are particularly important for effective on-line study.
Anon, (2016). [online]
Honey, P. & Mumford, A. (1982) Manual of Learning Styles London: P Honey
Leaver, B. (2005). Learning styles and learning strategies (Chapter 3) – Achieving Success in Second Language Acquisition. [online] Cambridge Core.
Mobbs, D. (2010). Honey and Mumford — University of Leicester. [online]
Pd-how2.org. (2016). Learning styles. [online]
Zwanenberg, N. (2016). Felder and Silverman’s Index of Learning Styles and Honey and Mumford’s Learning Styles Questionnaire: How do they compare and do they predict academic performance?: Educational Psychology: Vol 20, No 3. [online]