People learn in different ways. David Kolb drew from the works of earlier scholars to develop his own theory about how people learn. His Experiential Learning Theory explains how a person observes and reflects on her concrete experiences and forms abstract ideas based on those observations. These abstract concepts then influence new experiences. The Accommodator learning style is one of four learning styles identified in the Experiential Learning Theory.
In their article "Experiential Learning Theory: a Dynamic, Holistic Approach to Management Learning, Education, and Development," Alice and David Kolb describe the characteristics of four learning styles: Accommodator; Active; Multisensory; and Converger. The person who prefers to use the Accommodator style leans toward hands-on activities, relies on other people for information, uses his intuition, likes to start and complete projects, and isn't afraid to take risks. Accommodator learners like working with other people in groups. The Kolbs also suggest that people with this learning style often do well in sales and marketing careers.
Learning Style Inventory
The Learning Style Inventory is used to identify a student's learning style. This requires a student to rank four responses to each of 12 sentences according to his preference. The results show which learning style the learner prefers and help the instructor to structure learning activities to match the students learning style. The inventory helps students understand why they prefer certain types of activities.
Implications for Instructors
Structure assignments to match the student's learning style. Offer challenges that will encourage the student's ability to take on and complete new projects, and support his tolerance for risk-taking. Place the student in groups where she will use information provided by other members to produce new concepts and products. Encourage activities that will develop skills in sales and marketing. Ask the student to write persuasive papers, make persuasive speeches, or develop ads for products or services.
Implications for Students
Rely on your intuition and use it with confidence. Take on new projects and use trial and error to solve problems. Work in groups and try to assume the role of the learner who waits for others in the group to find the information needed and then uses that information to construct new ideas or concepts. Practice writing persuasive papers and speeches. Consider the possibilities that sales and marketing careers will offer you.
Remember that even if the student and instructor have identified the student's preferred learning style, activities will not always favor that style. Constraints of time, materials, course requirements and the instructor's willingness to consider student learning styles will sometimes make it difficult for the student to learn through his preferred style. Although it's important for a student to know her preferred style, she should learn how to use other styles as well.
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