Honey and Mumford Learning Styles
The Honey & Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire
Honey and Mumford's learning styles were developed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford in 1986. Their work is inspired by 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. Teacher training courses like the AET qualification teach the importance of a teacher trainer to know their own learning preference as well as their learners’ preferences for a truly engaging learning experience.
Instead of asking people directly how they learn, as Kolb’s LSI does, Honey and Mumford gave a questionnaire that probes general behavioural 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. These methods include using multiple resources to cater to individual learner needs. The award in education course is designed to teach the application of different learning styles for trainers according to the learner's individual learning preferences.
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 you to make smarter decisions in adjusting the learning opportunities and your preference of best learning, increasing the range and variety of experiences which are potential learning opportunities, improving learning skills and awareness (Zwanenberg, 2016). Teachers really have to work towards developing techniques that aid every learner equally in the classroom. The Level 3 AET course extensively discusses the role, importance and techniques of catering to the learning needs of individual learners. This course is ideal if one wants to get into teaching. We have multiple learner types enrolled on our online AET qualification. One solution we use to cater to different learning needs is to use a variety of resources that cater to all learner types.
What are the four Honey & Mumford learning styles?
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.
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’.
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.
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.
How can I cater to the Honey & Mumford Learning Styles in my teaching?
According to indepth research on each learning style, there are few techniques that learners from each style prefer.
It is known that Activists prefer learning activities that include brainstorming, problem-solving, group discussion, puzzles, competitions, role-play, etc. This enables them to think deeper as they enjoy work that involves them to concentrate and offers a challenge.
Theorists on the other hand prefer learning activities which includes models, statistics, stories, quotes, background information, applying concepts theoretically etc. These types of learners are interested in understanding the theory behind each activity. They like to think through things and understand their implications in reality.
Pragmatic learners learn better through taking time to think about how to apply learning in reality, case studies, problem-solving and discussion. They dislike games and abstract theories. They want to know the technique to apply all they learn in real life situations.
Reflectors like paired discussions, self-analysis questionnaires, personality questionnaires, time out, observing activities, feedback from others, coaching, interviews etc. They take time out to look back and reflect on their own experiences and that of others. They collect first hand information and think about situations from different perspectives and eventually come to a definite conclusion.
How do I use Honey & Mumford while teaching online?
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 want more knowledge within a limited time than ‘reflectors’ (those that prefer to stand back and view experiences from a number of different perspectives first). For instance, ‘activists’ may prefer to learn by doing or learning information from infographics. On the other hand, ‘reflective learners’ could learn from watching webinars, live sessions and other aids that involve other people discussing their own experience and learnings.
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. Theorist learners are mostly self-driven who dive deep in topics and create hypotheses to draw conclusions. They’re most interested in learning more from other sources such as text books, reading lists or research papers. Pragmatists usually prefer to learn more about practical applications of concepts they learn in the classroom. For instance, getting into teaching requires one to study about different learner types and learning styles, along with that, they learn about applying those theories into real life situations.
In conclusion, every individual has a different learning style. In order to know, understand and use techniques to cater to different learning preferences of your learners, it is important to first know the different types. We hope this article has helped you in understanding the differences. You can also try our CPD course on Learning Styles to find out more about various models and theories of learning styles and how best to teach them. The AET qualification can also really assist you in understanding other aspects of teaching and learning along with the different Learning styles.
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]