Monthly Archives: September 2012

Understanding Learning Styles Using 4MAT

When you combine the perceiving preference for feeling or thinking with the processing preference for watching or doing, you discover four distinct preference combinations. These four combinations are the foundation of the 4MAT learning styles model and the 4MAT learning styles descriptions:

Learning Styles

Source: Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley 2012)

Perceiving Preferences in the 4MAT Learning Styles Model: Perceiving and Processing

Two primary actions define learning: perceiving and processing. The 4MAT Learning Type Measure assesses individual learning style preferences for taking in and making meaning of new information.

  • Perceiving refers to the act of taking in information through our senses
  • Processing refers to how we make meaning of that information

By this definition, when we read an email, sit in a meeting, or talk to colleague, you are learning.

How do you prefer to take in information?
Some of us prefer to take in information experientially. “Feelers” enjoy being immersed in an experience. Feelers take in information from an “inside” place. They rely heavily on their own experience and intuition. They prefer to be personally involved in a learning experience. You will see these preferences in action in a classroom situation. Feelers like to hear and share stories. They enjoy dialogue and group activities. Are you a feeler?


Other learners prefer to take in information intellectually. “Thinkers” prefer to read, research, or learn from an expert source. Thinkers prefer to take in information from an “outside” place. They enjoy structured, well-organized presentation of information. You will see these preferences in action in a classroom learning situation. Thinkers prefer well-researched data, concepts and organized lecture. Are you a thinker?

Source: Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley 2012)

From Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles: Handling “Negative” Dialogue

ENGAGE, THE TRAINER'S GUIDE TO LEARNING STYLES

Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles
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Trainers often share that one of the greatest fears of encouraging dialogue is maintaining focus on the content being explored. Trainers often ask, “What if it goes off-track? What if they start to complain about things I can’t do anything about?”

The only way we can tap into the learner’s commitment to the content is to welcome the dialogue. The dialogue will tell you what the learners are committed to. In Seven Languages for Transformation: How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, authors Kegan and Lahey share, “… people only complain about something because they are committed to the value or importance of something else.” (Kegan and Lahey, 2001, p. 30). When a learners says he is upset about one thing, what he is really telling you is that he is committed to something else. It’s your job to figure out what that is. Rather than thinking about how you address the complaint, focus on the bigger message being delivered. The opposite of what we complain about is what we want. With each complaint, the learner is giving up the key to engagement—what it is he truly wants to create.

Source: Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley 2012)

Perceiving Preferences in the 4MAT Learning Styles Model

The 4MAT Learning Type Measure assesses learning style preferences in how we take in and make meaning of new information.

Once we take in information, we process the information. We make sense of it. Some of us linger in reflection. “Watchers” prefer to reflect before moving into action. Watchers like to understand the information. They want to make sense of what they are experiencing before deciding how to act upon this new information. You will see these preferences in a learning situation. The watchers will hang back and observe. The will ask clarifying questions. They will be more reflective as they approach learning activities. They like to see things unfold before jumping in. Are you a watcher?

4MAT Learning Styles Model

Others prefer to jump into action. “Doers” are imagining how they will use the information you are sharing. They will be quick to move into activity, sometimes disregarding the directions. They will finish quickly. And, they will have little interest in content that doesn’t seem to be practical. Are you a doer?

In any learning experience, you will find watchers and doers. The key is to balance the needs of both simultaneously.

Source: Engage, The Trainer’s Guide to Learning Styles (Wiley 2012)

Cool People Doing Great Things with 4MAT: Dennis Kagimba Mugimba of Compassion International

Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry focused on supporting the needs of children throughout the world. The Compassion International learning team began using 4MAT online courses to certify their global instructor team in 2009. Dennis Kagimba Mugimba, Child Survival Program Specialist based in Uganda, recently completed certification in the 4MAT Instructional Design Fundamentals online course.

What are you working on? How are you using 4MAT in this work?

This 4MAT training came in handy at a time when our work-team was in the preparations for rolling out the Human Performance Improvement (HPI) model to the Field staff we support in the five East African countries of Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. We had drawn up some training plans for this rollout training prior to the 4MAT training. However, following the 4MAT training, we felt compelled by the knowledge we had acquired to completely overhaul our earlier plans and return to the drawing board. Everyone on our work-team as well as Management is quite pleased with the new look of Instructional Design that we have come up with – so, well done 4MAT for equipping us.

What have you discovered lately that has positively impacted the results you are creating through the learning experiences you design?

The greatest discovery during this training was the realization that even though we all learn differently because we are wired uniquely, with proper training and skill, the trainer can facilitate learning in a way that addresses the various learning styles/preferences of the learners. By the end of the training, I felt more empowered and equipped to be a better facilitator of learning. From the home-front, through this training, I also became more intentional in trying to understand how my children learn. I have realized Elizabeth likes to be given instructions, Grace-Joy prefers to be shown how to do something before she can go it alone, whereas Christina has no patience for instructions; she simply jumps into the fray!

What’s your favorite quote? Why?

Without a shadow of a doubt, Bernice McCarthy’s quote “The tension between these two ways of perceiving, feeling and thinking, is the central dynamic in learning. So the real issue in learning is how to balance being subject to our feelings with relating to our feelings as object.” is my favorite quote during the class.

The next session of 4MAT Instructional Design Fundamentals begins on October 5, 2012.