Converger Learning Style

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The Converger learning style is one of four learning styles identified by David Kolb, Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. The three other learning styles are Accommodator, Diverger, and Assimilator. Kolb added to the work of earlier researchers who focused on concrete experience as the starting point in the learning process.

Converger Characteristics

  • Learners whose learning style is primarily converger learn best through active experimentation and abstract conceptualization. These learners like to find practical solutions to problems. They are thinkers who form theories from observations and reflections. They look for a single answer to a problem. They like working on technical projects more than working on social issues or interpersonal relationships, according to Kolb's theory. They do well with laboratory experiments, finding solutions to problems, and simulations. The skills that converger learners possess are those that are important in specialist or technologist careers.

Abstract Conceptualization

  • Abstract thinkers take the information they receive from experiments, situations, and observations and then form complex ideas or theories from their experience. They are logical thinkers who like to make generalizations from their experiences. Here is a simple example of generalization made from observation and reflection:

    The thinker observes that

    goldfish swim
    catfish swim
    sharks swim
    king fish swim

    The abstract thinker generalizes that all fish swim.

    It is not necessary for the thinker to observe every single species of fish swimming, but he uses his knowledge of those that he has observed to make the generalization.

Active Experimentation

  • The people who learn best through actively experimenting like to do something with the information they have. They want to test the ideas and theories they have acquired. Using the simple example above for abstract conceptualization, the learner may want to build an aquarium. He may put different kinds of fish and plants in the aquarium and observe and reflect on them. He may experiment with water temperature or place different kinds of plants and rocks in the aquarium to observe how the fish swim and live.

Significance

  • When a learner and her instructor have identified the learning style that the student uses most often, they can work together to structure activities that will lead to success for the learner. The instructor will appreciate the student's ability to form new ideas and theories and her need to test them to see what works. With the instructor's encouragement, the student will choose activities that will help her develop her ability to work on technical problems.

Considerations

  • The student who has identified her learning style should also recognize that she can benefit from understanding and using the abilities in other learning styles. The downside of having a preference for abstract conceptualizations and active experimentation that are characteristic of the converger learning style is that the student will identify the solution to a problem quickly without testing for other possible solutions, according to an article by George E. B. Morren, Jr., "Behavior in Changing Environments: Learning, Problem Solving, and Seeing the World."

References

  • Photo Credit Andrew/Flickr.com
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