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Ak1 I


1 1each|ng Adu|ts through 1he|r Learn|ngSty|e Strengths A Cho|ce Approach
Puman belngs have many slmllar LralLs buL how Lhey learn new or dlfflculL
lnformaLlon ls as unlque as Lhelr lndlvldual flngerprlnLs Pow people learn ls called
Lhelr leotoloq style Many people can learn Lhlngs LhaL are easy for Lhem wlLhouL
uslng Lhelr learnlng sLyles buL all people learn new and dlfflculL lnformaLlon beLLer
when Lhey caplLallze on Lhelr sLyles 8ecause aL every age people learn more do so
more easlly and reLaln lL beLLer when Lhey use Lhelr learnlng sLyles Lhelr sLyles are
acLually Lhelr sLrengLhs ( uunn Crlggs Clson 8easley Corman 1993)
ulfferences ln how lndlvlduals learn explaln why ln Lhe same famlly some do
well ln school whlle oLhers do noL 1hose dlfferences also explaln why no slngle lnsLrucLlonal meLhod
or resource works well for everyone AlLhough each
approach helps some learners achleve LhaL same sLraLegy lnhlblLs learnlng for
Convent|ona| Staff Deve|opment
ConvenLlonal sLaff developmenL ofLen requlres LhaL parLlclpanLs slL quleLly ln
Lhelr seaLs for an hour or more and learn by elLher llsLenlng Lo Lhe speaker readlng
maLerlals or boLh Cccaslonally parLlclpanLs are dlvlded lnLo small groups Lo learn
Lhrough lnLeracLlons wlLh oLhers or Lo see a fllmsLrlp movle or vldeo SomeLlmes
parLlclpanLs are asked Lo develop a pro[ecL 8egardless of how Lhe sLaff developmenL
has been planned where lL Lakes place and how Lhe parLlclpanLs are LaughL are
usually Lhe same for all Lveryone ls expecLed Lo learn ln exacLly Lhe same way LhaL
everyone else learns

Learn|ngSty|e8ased Staff Deve|opment
When sLaff developmenL ls based on a learnlngsLyle approach Lhe same
lnformaLlon ls lnLroduced ln alLernaLlve ways and parLlclpanLs choose Lo learn
Lhrough Lhe resources or approaches mosL closely maLched Lo Lhelr sLyle lor
example ln one sLudy secondary school Leachers used Lhe new lnsLrucLlonal
sLraLegles Lhey were LaughL aL Lhelr mosL preferred Llme of day more frequenLly
Lhan Lhe sLraLegles Lhey were LaughL aL Lhelr less preferred Llme of day ( uunn
uunn lreeley 1984)

What Lxact|y Is Learn|ng Sty|e?
Learnlng sLyle ls Lhe way each person beglns Lo concenLraLe on process and
reLaln new and dlfflculL lnformaLlon ConcenLraLlon occurs dlfferenLly for dlfferenL
people aL dlfferenL Llmes of Lhe day lL ls lmporLanL Lo ldenLlfy lndlvlduals sLyles Lo
Lrlgger Lhelr concenLraLlon energlze Lhelr processlng and lncrease Lhelr longLerm

lL ls dlfflculL Lo ldenLlfy learnlng sLyle accuraLely wlLhouL a rellable lnsLrumenL
( 8eaLy 1986 uunn uunn rlce 1977 Marcus 1977) some LralLs are noL
observable and oLhers lend Lhemselves Lo mlslnLerpreLaLlon lor example lf Lwo
persons slLLlng nexL Lo each oLher durlng a presenLaLlon chew gum whlsper squlrm
ln Lhelr seaLs and pay llLLle aLLenLlon Lo Lhe speaker an observer could noL deLermlne
wheLher Lhey are unlnLeresLed anLlauLhorlLarlan nonconformlng klnesLheLlc
unable Lo slL ln Lhe avallable chalrs hungry or ln need of an lnformal deslgn or
1hus Lo ldenLlfy how lndlvlduals learn lL ls necessary Lo use a comprehenslve
lnsLrumenLone LhaL dlagnoses many dlfferenL learnlngsLyle LralLs Cnly Lhree comprehensive
models exist, and each has a related instrument designed to reveal
individuals' styles based on the variables included in that model ( DeBello, 1990). In addition to
being comprehensive, an instrument must also be reliable and
valid. That is, a reliable instrument provides consistent inIormation over time; a
valid instrument measures what its research manual says it does. Instrument
reliability and validity are crucial because it is impossible to obtain accurate data
Irom an unreliable or invalid assessment.
Instrument 1 1he roduct|v|ty Lnv|ronmenta| reference Survey

1he mosL frequenLly used learnlngsLyle lnsLrumenL ln experlmenLal sLudles
wlLh adulLs ls Lhe uunn uunn and rlce ( 1982) roducLlvlLy LnvlronmenLal
reference Survey (LS) LS and Lhe Learnlng SLyle lnvenLory lLs counLerparL
for chlldren have been used ln research conducLed aL more Lhan 100 lnsLlLuLlons
of hlgher educaLlon (8esearch on Lhe uunn uunn Model 1997)LS reporLs how sLrongly 20
dlfferenL learnlngsLyle elemenLs affecL each
person (see 1able 11 )

roduct|v|ty Lnv|ronmenta| reference Survey L|ements
LnvlronmenLal LlemenLs

1 nolse level Sllence versus sound
2 LlghL ulm versus brlghL llghL
3 1emperaLure Cool versus warm LemperaLure
4 ueslgn lnformal versus formal seaLlng
LmoLlonal LlemenLs

3 MoLlvaLlon SelfmoLlvaLed
6 erslsLence erslsLence versus perlodlc breaks
7 8esponslblllLy ConformlLy versus nonconformlLy
8 SLrucLure lnLernal versus exLernal sLrucLure
Soclologlcal LlemenLs

9 Alone/peer Learnlng alone versus peerorlenLed learner
10 AuLhorlLy flgures AuLhorlLy flgures absenL/presenL

8equlrlng versus noL requlrlng feedback
11 Several ways 8equlrlng paLLerns and rouLlnes versus varleLy
hyslologlcal LlemenLs

12 AudlLory 8emembers of whaL ls heard
13 vlsual 8emembers of whaL ls read/seen
14 1acLlle 8emembers of whaL ls wrlLLen/manlpulaLed
13 klnesLheLlc 8emembers of whaL ls experlenced
16 lnLake Learns besL whlle eaLlng/drlnklng
17 Lvenlngmornlng Lvenlng versus mornlng alerL
18 LaLe mornlng luncLlons besL ln laLe mornlng
19 AfLernoon luncLlons besL ln afLernoon
20 MoblllLy Learnlng whlle passlve versus moblle

Instrument 2 8us|ness Lxce||ence

A new recenLly fleldLesLed lnsLrumenL 8uslness Lxcellence (8L) was speclfl
cally deslgned Lo ldenLlfy Lhe learnlng sLyles of adulLs ln corporaLe and lndusLrlal
flrms ( 8undle uunn 1996) ueveloped cooperaLlvely by SL !ohns unlverslLys
CenLer for Lhe SLudy of Learnlng and 1eachlng SLyles and erformance ConLracLs
a buslness flrm 8L can be admlnlsLered and handscored on slLe wlLhln a 20 Lo
30mlnuLe perlod and has Lhe advanLage of permlLLlng presenLers Lo ldenLlfy elLher
one several or all of lLs 21 learnlngsLyle elemenLslncludlng global versus
analyLlc cognlLlve processlng sLyles ln addlLlon 8L lncludes a shorL global lnLro
ducLlon Lo each elemenL and also provldes shorL descrlpLlons of how Lo lncrease
producLlvlLy based on Lhe analyses of each persons sLyleAs llgure 11 lllusLraLes 8L reporLs on
each lndlvlduals
- eovltoomeotol preferences for sound or quleL low versus brlghL llghL warm
versus cool LemperaLures and lnformal versus formal seaLlng deslgns whlle
concenLraLlng on demandlng Lasks
- emotloool preferences concerned wlLh hlgh or low moLlvaLlon perslsLence as
opposed Lo needlng breaks whlle concenLraLlng conformlLy versus noncon
formlLy and lnLernal versus exLernal need for sLrucLure
- socloloqlcol preferences for learnlng alone ln a palr wlLh peers ln a small
group wlLh an auLhorlLaLlve versus a colleglal presenLer or ln varled ways as
opposed Lo ln a paLLern or rouLlne
- pbysloloqlcol preferences such as Lhe percepLual modallLles Lhrough whlch he or
she besL remembers new and dlfflculL academlc lnformaLlon for example by
hearlng versus seelng versus manlpulaLlng maLerlals wlLh ones hands versus experlenclng
Lhe Llme of day each person concenLraLes besL and Lhe lndlvld
uals preferences for lnLake or moblllLy whlle concenLraLlng
- ptocessloqstyle preferences as requlred by analyLlcs and globals

Cf Lhe 20 Lo 21 elemenLs LhaL LS and 8L ldenLlfy no one ls affecLed by all
mosL people are affecLed by somewhere beLween 3 and 14 elemenLs Some adulLs
are affecLed by as many as 16 (or more) elemenLs many by fewer (2 Lo 6)
Powever every elemenL LhaL ls revealed as belng a preference or a sLrong prefer
ence for an lndlvldual ls llkely Lo lncrease Lhe ease wlLh whlch LhaL person
concenLraLes and hls or her en[oymenL of dolng so 1hose elemenLs LhaL are
revealed as belng an lndlvlduals preferences comblne Lo form LhaL persons
sLyle All sLyle elemenLs are lmporLanL and conLrlbuLe dlfferenLlally Lo how well
each adulL concenLraLes processes lnLernallzes and reLalns new and dlfflculL
lnformaLlon rocesslng sLyle percepLual modallLles Lhe comblnaLlon of llghL
and seaLlng deslgn and Llme of day affecL approxlmaLely 70 percenL of all people
Sound perslsLence moblllLy and soclologlcal preferences also affecL large clus
Lers of people

1he Lerms ooolytlc and qlobol descrlbe how lndlvlduals begln Lo Lake ln and
process lnformaLlon AnalyLlcs learn mosL easlly when lnformaLlon ls presenLed ln
sLepbysLep sequenced deLalls LhaL gradually develop cognlLlve undersLandlng of
a concepL Cn Lhe oLher hand globals learn more easlly when Lhey elLher undersLand
Lhe concepL flrsL and Lhen concenLraLe on Lhe deLalls or when Lhey are lnLroduced
Lo Lhe lnformaLlon wlLh preferably a humorous sLory repleLe wlLh examples
appllcaLlons and graphlcs relaLed Lo Lhelr llves MosL presenLaLlons usually follow
a sLepbysLep deLalled lecLure approach whlch lf lnLeresLlng appeals Lo analyLlc
WheLher people are analyLlc or global Lhey seem capable of masLerlng ldenLlcal
lnformaLlon or skllls when Lhey are LaughL wlLh lnsLrucLlonal meLhods or resources
LhaL complemenL Lhelr sLyles ( uunn Crlggs Clson 8easley Corman 1993)
1hus sLaff developmenL needs Lo be provlded boLh analyLlcally and globally ln
addlLlon global people seem Lo requlre a dlfferenL learnlng envlronmenL from
convenLlonal classrooms or an audlLorlum llbrary or gymnaslum Clobals also
requlre nurLurlng when Lhey need a break from work and encouragemenL Lo sLay
on Lask ln addlLlon Lo shorLer raLher Lhan longer Lasks because of Lhelr compara
Llvely low perslsLence levels whlle concenLraLlng on academlcs
AlLhough many adulLs reLaln complex lnformaLlon when whaL Lhey are learnlng
ls lnLeresLlng Lo Lhem globals nelLher concenLraLe academlcally nor sLay on Lask
unless Lhe lnformaLlon ls boLh lnLeresLlng and relaLed Lo Lhelr llves
1herefore cauLlon consulLanLs Lo begln Lhelr presenLaLlon wlLh a shorL humor
ous (lf posslble) anecdoLe LhaL dlrecLly relaLes Lhe focus of Lhe sesslon or Lhe
program Lo Lhe parLlclpanLs llves or experlences Lncourage Lhe use of colored
plcLures and graphlcs Lo accompany shorL aLLracLlve LexL or lllusLraLlons on Lrans
parencles slldes dlscs fllms or owerolnL
lnvolve Lhe parLlclpanLs ln Lhe
presenLaLlon whenever posslbleperhaps ln perlodlc dlscusslon demonsLraLlons
palred or smallgroup sLraLegles responses Lo querles or wrlLLen exerclses

SLaff developers need Lo become aware of Lhe envlronmenL ln whlch Lhey
conducL sLaff developmenL sesslons and conLrol lL Lo Lhe exLenL LhaL Lhey can Clven
Lhe knowledge LhaL lndlvlduals requlre dlfferenL klnds and degrees of quleL and
sound llghL LemperaLure and seaLlng lL ls Lhelr responslblllLy Lo provlde alLernaLlve
areas where people can congregaLe Lo learnfor LhaL ls how sLaff developmenL
should begln
AlLhough analyLlc parLlclpanLs usually requlre quleL whlle concenLraLlng on
complex lnformaLlon many globals Lend Lo learn beLLer wlLh sound lor global
adulLs baroque muslc smooLh [azz and quleL new age muslc usually work besL Lo
lncrease concenLraLlon Lhan melodles wlLh words Powever remember Lo malnLaln
quleL ln Lhe secLlon of Lhe envlronmenL where analyLlcs wlll be learnlng
1ake Lhe Llme Lo experlmenL wlLh Lhe llghLlng so LhaL Lhe area has boLh brlghLer
and more dlmly lllumlnaLed secLlons ScouL ouL Lhe room Lo be cerLaln LhaL lL ls
nelLher Loo cool or Loo warm lf lL ls seek asslsLance ln moderaLlng Lhe LemperaLure
lf you Lry buL flnd LhaL you canL do anyLhlng abouL lL have Lhe courLesy Lo alerL
people Lo brlng exLra cloLhlng (lf lL ls Loo cold) or Lo wear less (lf lL ls Loo warm)
Check for varlaLlons of LemperaLure such as drafLs or alr condlLlonlng blowers
wlLhln Lhe room or Lhe need for fans 8emember some parLlclpanLs wlll feel cold
oLhers comforLable and sLlll oLhers warm ln Lhe same envlronmenL
Lxamlne Lhe seLup well before people arrlve rovlde dlfferenL Lypes of furnl
Lurean easy chalr or Lwo a couple of couches some bean bags for Lhe adulLs who
en[oy exLremely casual deslgns and some plllows for Lhe chalrs ?ou mlghL even
approprlaLe a couple of llghL blankeLs eople wlll appreclaLe your efforL Lo make
Lhem comforLable

uonL pre[udge LhaL people wlll elLher wanL Lo work ln groups or learn dlrecLly
from Lhe presenLer durlng Lhe sesslon rovlde cholces and encourage people Lo
make Lhelr own declslons concernlng how Lo proceed nelLher cooperaLlve learnlng
nor dlrecL lnsLrucLlon wlll please a ma[orlLy of parLlclpanLs who aLLend any meeLlng
Soclologlcal preferences are so varled LhaL ln almosL any group of 130 or more
approxlmaLely 28 percenL may en[oy worklng elLher ln palrs or ln a small group anoLher 28
percenL wlll prefer elLher a colleglal or an auLhorlLaLlve presenLer almosL
13 percenL prefer learnlng lndependenLly wlLh approprlaLe resources buL wlLhouL
people nearby and Lhe remalnder elLher llke varleLy or flnd LhaL Lhelr preferences
vary dependlng on Lhe speaker and/or Lhe Loplc
8especL Lhe parLlclpanLs lndlvlduallLy make everyone aware LhaL learnlngsLyle
dlfferences exlsL and provlde opLlons rovldlng alLernaLlves does noL lmply LhaL
everyone experlence all Lhe cholces ulgnlfy people by allowlng Lhem Lo do lL Lhelr
way as long as Lhey (1) do noL dlsLracL anyone else from concenLraLlng and (2)
compleLe Lhe ob[ecLlves esLabllshed for Lhe sesslon

1haL lndlvlduals remember dlfferenLly Lhe complex lnformaLlon Lhey learn by
hearlng readlng or seelng LacLually manlpulaLlng or experlenclng may be one of
Lhe ma[or flndlngs of Lhls era revlously lL was belleved LhaL mosL people could
learn almosL anyLhlng lf Lhey would only slL sLlll and pay aLLenLlon! We now know
LhaL Lhls ls a false assumpLlon
When adulLs were lnLroduced Lo new maLerlal Lhrough Lhelr percepLual prefer
ences Lhey remembered slgnlflcanLly more Lhan when Lhey were lnLroduced Lo
slmllar maLerlal Lhrough Lhelr leasL preferred modallLy ( lngham 1991) 1hey also
en[oyed learnlng more from presenLers wlLh slmllar percepLual sLrengLhs ( 8uell
8uell 1987)
Many adulL males are noL audlLory Cnly a small percenLage of males of any age
remember LhreequarLers of whaL Lhey hear ln a normal 4030mlnuLe perlod As
a resulL lecLures dlscusslons and llsLenlng are Lhe leasL effecLlve sLraLegy for
Leachlng many males Powever even among females less Lhan 30 percenL are
audlLory learners
lf people are noL audlLory learners are Lhey vlsual? vlsual resources help many
people learn buL many men and some women learn besL wlLh Lhelr hands (LacLu
ally) and Lhrough experlence (klnesLheLlcally) Cnce you ldenLlfy LacLual learners
you can reach Lhem and hold Lhelr aLLenLlon wlLh Lhe resources 8oger Callan
descrlbes ln ChapLer 12 Powever Lo respond Lo klnesLheLlc learners read abouL
ulane MlLchells and Llleen uAnnas floor games ln ChapLer 13 And lf you have
Lo provlde Lralnlng for nonconformlng anLlauLhorlLarlan and uncollaboraLlve
sLaff donL mlss Mar[orle Schlerlngs and 8lLa 1aylors MulLlsensory lnsLrucLlonal
ackages (Ml) ln ChapLer 14 Mls really work when all else falls!

1ask efflclency ls greaLesL when each adulL has Lhe mosL energy Lo concenLraLe
on dlfflculL maLerlal lor example ln one sLudy Leachers Llme preferences were
ldenLlfled and sLaff developmenL sesslons were conducLed ln boLh maLched and
mlsmaLched sesslons 1hose hlgh school Leachers used lnsLrucLlonal sLraLegles LhaL
Lhey had been exposed Lo durlng sLaff developmenL slgnlflcanLly more ofLen when
Lhey aLLended sesslons durlng Lhelr preferred Llme of day ln conLrasL Lo when Lhey
aLLended sesslons durlng Lhelr nonpreferred Llmes ( uunn uunn lreeley 1984
lreeley 1984)
Whereas 33 percenL of Lhe adulLs we have LesLed appear Lo be early mornlng
preferenLs mosL sLaff developmenL ls conducLed ln Lhe afLernoonadulLs worsL
Llme of day And we rarely address Lhe 28 percenL of adulLs who are nlghL owls
rofesslonal adulLs are lnvolved ln cognlLlve sLreLchlng almosL all Lhe Llme lor
Lhem Lo devoLe undlluLed aLLenLlon Lo sLaff developmenL requlres energy 1herefore
offer Lhem cholces of when Lhey may aLLend sLaff developmenL sesslons and honor
Lhelr declslons Also alm for sLaff developmenL on nonworklng days

MosL adulLs who appear resLless or lnaLLenLlve durlng sLaff developmenL are noL
cllnlcally hyperacLlve lnsLead Lhey ofLen are ln need of moblllLy an lnformal
deslgn a dlfferenL approach Lo learnlng or a presenLer whose Leachlng sLyle beLLer
maLches Lhelr learnlng sLyles ln addlLlon Lhe less lnLeresLed adulLs are ln whaL Lhey
are belng LaughL Lhe more moblllLy Lhey need A dlsquleLlng polnL ls LhaL such
persons are almosL always males ( 8esLak 1979)
Add Lo Lhls lnformaLlon Lhe knowledge LhaL beLween 40 and 30 percenL of many
adulLs requlre lnformal seaLlng whlle concenLraLlng and lL ls noL dlfflculL Lo under
sLand why so many males squlrm exLend Lhelr feeL lnLo alsles squlrrel down lnLo
Lhelr seaLs and leave before Lhe sesslon ls ended
SLaff developers need Lo esLabllsh several dlfferenL lnsLrucLlonal acLlvlLy cenLers
or areas ln each envlronmenL so LhaL moblllLypreferenced adulLs who compleLe
one Lask may move Lo anoLher area Lo work on Lhe nexL
Whenever posslble lncorporaLe klnesLheLlc acLlvlLles ln each sLaff developmenL
sesslon so LhaL whlle belng exposed Lo new knowledge parLlclpanLs can move wlLhouL
drawlng unnecessary aLLenLlon Lo Lhemselves dlsLracLlng oLhers or seemlng Lo be
rude AcLlvlLles LhaL permlL movemenL lnclude acLlng bralnsLormlng case sLudles
lnLervlewlng (wheLher slmulaLed or real) demonsLraLlons roleplaylng panLomlme
and slmulaLlons ( uunn uunn 1993 uunn Crlggs 1993)
ln addlLlon conslder experlmenLlng wlLh an lnLeresLlng form of lndependenL
sLudy ConLracL AcLlvlLy ackages (CAs) (see 8ose LefkowlLzs appllcaLlons ln
ChapLer 11) or rogrammed Learnlng Sequences (LSs) (see 8oger Callans formaL
ln ChapLer 10) 8oLh CAs and LSs allow parLlclpanLs Lo move whlle learnlng
wlLhouL dlsLurblng oLhers llnally be cerLaln Lo experlmenL wlLh some smallgroup
Lechnlques llke bralnsLormlng clrcle of knowledge group analysls slmulaLlons
and Leam learnlngparLlcularly for peerorlenLed adulLs ( uunn uunn 1993
uunn Crlggs 1993)

Motivation and Structure
Most people are motivated toward improving their skills, but some want choices
oI when, what, where, and with whom they will learn. Others want to be advised about
what is important and how they can show that they have mastered it. Then, too, there
is a range oI persons on a broad, "in-between" continuum. However, iI staII developers
identiIy everyone's learning style with either the PEPS ( Dunn, Dunn, & Price, 1982)
or BE ( Rundle & Dunn, 1996) and provide (1) variety Ior those who are internally
structured and (2) directives Ior those who are externally structured, many who oIten
verbalize their Irustrations are less likely to complain. Even iI they do, they will
inIluence Iewer colleagues than usual.
In addition, provide clearly printed and illustrated directions and objectives Ior
those who need structure and alternative choices Ior those who do not.

Once analytic people begin working on a task, they tend to want to Iinish it. Thus,
analytics are less likely than globals to slip out oI a workshop without closure. Global
people, on the other hand, need Irequent breaks. They complete tasks but Ieel overload
when required to work straight through without intermittent snacking, taking com-
Iort periods, or socializing (which many oI them enjoy).
Either divide identiIied analytics and globals into two sections oI the same
session or acknowledge their needs and address both as best you can within the time
Iramework and schedule.

Responsibility--Conformity versus Nonconformity
ConIormists rarely pose a problem Ior staII developers; they'll do everything the
presenter asks in exactly the way that is suggested, and iI the conIormists are also
authority oriented, they will insist on telling the presenter that they had imple-
mented what was described during the session.
Conversely, no matter what presenters cover or how well they plan, noncon-
Iormists will seek the other participants' and the presenter's attention by vocalizing
reasons why what was suggested will not work. II they are authority oriented, they
may challenge as a devil's advocate. Advise presenters to try three things when
challenged by a participant: (1) explain why whatever was suggested is really
important to the presenter; (2) acknowledge the person respectIully and speak in a
collegial rather than an authoritative tone; and (3) provide choices Ior experiment-
ing with the suggestion.

Even the Iollowing steps should improve participants' attitudes toward, and
behaviors during, staII development.