Alternative Approaches to Learning Styles

Established by the trainer (this can be determined by widely available VAK questionnaires), the development action can be tailored to match this. If the training is being delivered to a group of learners who may have different preferred learning styles (e.g. web-based e-learning or group training), all three style should be incorporated to ensure that all learners can engage with the material at some stage during the learning process.

Reflecting on my personal learning style, I tend to fall into the visual and kinaesthetic categories.

I learn best by watching a colleague complete a task first and then attempt the task myself to gain the practical experience.

An alternative to the VAK approach of analysing learning styles is the Honey and Mumford approach. This approach separates learners into 4 categories; Pragmatists (those that can see a link to their own work and can recognise the advantages of this learning), Activists (those that prefer team working, interaction, discussions, problem-solving), Reflectors (those that prefer observation, producing reports and essays with time to think about what they have encountered) and Theorists (those who like to apply theories to problems, using concepts, models and facts).

Again, these learning styles can be established via online questionnaires.

When organisations/employers are deciding upon development actions, they are likely to consider how much time it will take employees away from their productive work, as it is important that the training does not have a negative impact on the operation of the organisation. The budget for training should also be taken into consideration – if there are a large number of employees to be trained, it is likely to be much more cost-effective to explore whether the training can be delivered on site to save on expenses such as travel and accommodation.

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Finally, when ascertaining the suitability of different types of development actions, consideration should be taken as to whether they are relevant to the goals and objectives of the organisation (e.g. is it a worthwhile and appropriate investment?). Relevant training and development should improve the quality and efficiency of service provision, and allow the organisation to flourish in a competitive market.

Identify current and future likely skills, knowledge and experience needs using skills gap analysis

A skills gap analysis is a method of determining the knowledge and skills and required for a particular role or team, and then comparing an individual’s or team’s current knowledge and skills to the requirement. Once the skills gap analysis is complete, a plan can be created to address the gaps in skills and knowledge.

To perform a skills analysis on myself, I have chosen to use the SWOT tool.

The Current Position Strengths Weaknesses

  • Communication
  •  Team working
  •  Organisational skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Efficiency
  • Literacy
  • Confidence (with senior colleagues and in relation to studying for a qualification
  •  Logistical planning
  •  Decision making
  •  Assertiveness

The Future Opportunities Threats

  •  Student numbers are increasing next year, which will require a high level decision making and logistical planning
  •  My line manager was on an extended period of leave recently, and this allowed me to gain some skills and experience required to fulfil her role
  •  The NHS is continually growing and expanding, creating more job opportunities for my future
  • If my line manager were to leave, I do not have necessary management qualification to succeed her and wouldn’t be eligible to apply for the job.
  •  I will find it difficult to secure a promotion within my organisation unless I gain a further qualification
  •  Peers may overtake me, even though I have significant administration experience
  •  Workload and time constraints may impact my ability to achieve my personal and professional goals

The development required in relation to opportunities and threats

  •  Undertake a management qualification
  •  Improve on weaknesses in my personal development by taking advantage of the personal development opportunities offered by my employer
  •  Ask to be involved in the decision making and logistical planning for the increased student numbers, to gain experience in this field whilst being mentored by my senior colleagues

Explain how to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART) objectives

When developing a personal and professional development plan, it is important that individuals set themselves or the team learning objectives. Learning objectives describe the knowledge and skills that individuals will be able to demonstrate once they have taken part in the learning process.

In order for the learning objectives to be effective, they must be considered in some detail, and a popular tool to achieve this is the SMART method.

The SMART method can be broken down as follows in relation to setting learning objectives:

  • Specific – objectives should specifically and clearly describe the outcome required in a detailed and focused way.
  • Measurable – the progress/achievement of the goal should be able to be tracked (e.g. how will you know if you have achieved your objective?), particularly as it helps the learner remain focused and motivated. An example of how goals are measured is the gaining of a qualification once all the learning has been completed and demonstrated to an acceptable level.
  • Agreed/Achievable – the goals set should stretch and challenge an individual’s abilities and skills but remain achievable. Achievable goals encourage motivation and enthusiasm for the task.
  • Realistic/Relevant – it is important that the goals which are set are realistic and relevant to the broader goals of an organisation for example. When determining whether goals are realistic, factors such as time constraints, resources and financial aspects should be considered.
  • Time-bounded – In order to make the goal measurable, a deadline should be set for when the goal must be accomplished. Having a deadline in mind prompts individuals to continue working towards their goals. Without a deadline, it is possible that individuals may lose focus and motivation or a sense of urgency in achieving the goal.

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Alternative Approaches to Learning Styles. (2022, Apr 24). Retrieved from

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