Team Building Tip: Implications of Different Learning Styles

Team Building

Team Building Involves Trust and Clear Communication

When a manager or teacher understands learning styles, learning and change can be achieved with ease.  David Kolb developed the four learning styles model in 1984. The four styles are Reflectors, Theorists, Pragmatists and Activists.

  • Reflectors are the imaginative people (feelers and watchers). They take in information concretely and they process what they take in reflectively.  These people are able to look at things from different perspectives. They are sensitive. They prefer to watch rather than do, tending to gather information and use imagination to solve problems. They are best at viewing concrete situations several different viewpoints. These people perform better in situations that require ideas-generation, for example, brainstorming. Reflectors have broad cultural interests and like to gather information. They are interested in people, tend to be imaginative and emotional, and tend to be strong in the arts. People with the Reflective learning style prefer to work in groups, to listen with an open mind and to receive personal feedback.
  • Theorists are your analytical people (thinkers and watchers). They will experience events abstractly and then process what they take in reflectively. They will start with an idea, ponder on it, mold it and watch it take many shapes. Modern day education facilitates to the theorist style of learning even though a very large portion of learners are not analytical. Theorists learning preference is for a concise, logical approach. Ideas and concepts are more important than people. These people require good clear explanation rather than practical opportunity. They excel at understanding wide-ranging information and organizing it a clear logical format. Theorists are less focused on people and more interested in ideas and abstract concepts. People with this style are more attracted to logically sound theories than approaches based on practical value. Theorists people are effective in information and science careers. In formal learning situations, people with this style prefer readings, lectures, exploring analytical models, and having time to think things through.
  • Pragmatists are your common sense people (thinkers and doers).  They will experience events abstractly and then process what they do actively. They will start with an idea, try it, and test it to see if it works.  Pragmatists can solve problems and will use their learning to find solutions to practical issues. They prefer technical tasks, and are less concerned with people and interpersonal aspects. Pragmatists are best at finding practical uses for ideas and theories. They can solve problems and make decisions by finding solutions to questions and problems. Pragmatists are more attracted to technical tasks and problems than social or interpersonal issues. Pragmatists like to experiment with new ideas, to simulate, and to work with practical applications.
  • Activists are the intuitive people (feelers and doers).  The experience events concretely and process it actively.  They start with what their senses take in and then jump right in and start acting. Activists rely on intuition rather than logic. These people use other people’s analysis, and prefer to take a practical, experiential approach. They are attracted to new challenges and experiences, and to carrying out plans. They commonly act on ‘gut’ instinct rather than logical analysis. Activists tend to rely on others for information than carry out their own analysis. This learning style is prevalent and useful in roles requiring action and initiative. Activists prefer to work in teams to complete tasks. They set targets and actively work in the field trying different ways to achieve an objective.

People learn more when they are comfortable and being taught in their preferred style. Yet people will not use other learning styles if they are only taught in one style. For a person to be an ultimately rounded learner they need to have experiences that teach them to use all four learning styles. So how do you get Reflectors, Theorists, Pragmatists, and Activists to work effectively together?  How do you blend the talents of a diverse group to a common goal? Challenge courses are a great way to do this. The exercises of a challenge course are proxies for real life situations that team encounter all the time.  Teams process problems and learn from the interactions, failures and accomplishments of the group.  Through a reflection process lead by a skilled facilitator, the group can blend the learning styles and talents of the team to perform at high levels.

– Jason Ruby,  Operations Manager, Terrapin Adventures

Team Building with Terrapin Adventures

Terrapin Adventures is conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC. We offer both custom onsite and offsite team building solutions. Presented in a fun and creative way, team building exercises challenge your team members to step out of their comfort zones and force them to work together to solve certain tasks. Get in touch with a Guest Relations Specialist today and ask about how we can help you plan your team building event. Please call Terrapin Adventures at 301.725.1313, or email us at You can also follow Terrapin Adventures on FacebookTwitterLinkedInYouTubeGoogle+, and Pinterest for up-to-date information on events, trends, and other fun and exciting outdoor activities.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 12th, 2013 at 8:33 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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