Learning Styles activity - Help please

Written by R Renoo on 10 September 2016

Hi there,


I was wondering if someone could help me out. I have to run a short 5 minute train the trainer session on Kolb's learning cycle and need to incorporate a mini interactive activity within that... any thoughts on how I could do this?



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Submitted on 11 September, 2016 - 11:55

Kolb's learning cycle in five minutes?  I think I might say no to that, personally. I imagine supplying the group with an activity - something new, like building a small lego item, with instructions, one set each, and asking them to "set to" and build the item.... it would need to be something people can do very quickly.  Maybe one minute of grappling with it.  Then thirty seconds each per style.  Who started by looking at the instructions?  Please put your hands up.  Who picked up the pieces and started to play?  Hands up please?  One question for each part of the cycle.  Invite people to look around as people raise their hands. Then a one minute summary with key messages from you.  For some reason, by the way, every time I try to start a new paragraph, TJ's technology is taking me to the start of my paragraph hence the big fat single paragraph.  I think for me, this takes me back to my starting point.  Five minutes - is it enough?  If I said yes, this is how I'd do it, with a supporting handout with further reading.







Submitted on 11 September, 2016 - 19:46

HI Thank you for your response. I am not sure how I could fit this in to fit Kolb.. any further comments? Thanks


Submitted on 13 September, 2016 - 10:29

The exercise Dorothy has suggested is ideal, the skill lies in knowing how to debrief and link back/forward to your topic. You could also break them into groups to discuss their best/worst learning experiences and what contributed to this. Five minutes is in my view not enough time for this topic

Best, Debbie


Submitted on 12 September, 2016 - 11:24

I think my response would be to ask you how familiar you are with Kolb and other learning theories?  If you're not sure how to use an exercise like this to illustrate the different ways in which people learn, it could be because you don't have a sufficient understanding of the topic you want to address.

I wonder how this lands with you?




Submitted on 13 September, 2016 - 10:36

I really like Dorothy's exercise as a way of demonstrating different learning preferences i.e. where would you be likely start when given something new to learn?  My reading of your question is that you want the trainers to understand the cycle rather than different preferences.  Therefore, another possibility to explain the value of using all steps in the cycle might be to lay out 4 circles/sheets of flipchart on the floor, each with one of the steps written on it.  Give a one-minute overview of the cycle and what each circle represents - ideally have this explanation on display visually.  Then ask 4 people to step into each of the different circles.  Ask each one "If you were to design a training session for x topic, what might you include to make sure this element of the cycle was covered?" Add a few comments and provide a more detailed handout.  Still hard to do in 5 minutes - so good luck! 


Submitted on 14 September, 2016 - 11:26

I think that Dorothy offered a good suggestion and also raises some relevant points.  I too would be concerned about what you are asking about as it certainly seems like a big ask for a 5 minute slot.  You are perhaps doing it as part of a selection process/interview?  I would be asking myself what you are trying to achieve....

Is it a participative session? Is it a train the trainer to equip others to run a session? You also talk about both learning styles and Kolb. whist the 2 are linked are you seeking to run a session to aid the understanding of Kolb's cycle or the associated learning styles.

Would suggest you do a little research into both the cycle and learning styles and then consider what you want to focus your session on.  if it is learning styles you could do an overview of the styles and then have participants do a sorting activity on cards with different learning methods and how they might appeal to different learning styles.



Submitted on 14 September, 2016 - 11:31

Some great ideas here about how you might get learners to use and apply Kolb's Learning Cycle. As others have already said, 5 minutes is very short and will restrict what you can achieve. What is the objective of the session? If it's a knowledge based outcome then maybe you can cover it in 5 minutes, but that of itself may not be very useful as training is a skill. If it is a skill based outcome (which in my view it should be and is why everyone is saying 5 minutes is not enough time) then the group would need to already have the knowledge in place, and then you can develop their understanding and use of Kolb as in the exercises and activities suggested by others. This time is so short I am wondering if it is a train the trainer "Introduction to presentation skills" session. If that's what it is, just go for "By the end of this session the group will be able to state the 4 stages of Kolb, Rubin and McIntyre's Learning Cycle" or something similar. I hope that helps your session to go well. 



Submitted on 14 September, 2016 - 14:43

Lots of great suggestions here and I echo the questions arising.  What do you want to achieve?  For what reason do you want to achieve it?  What is it about this that you're finding most difficult?  Answering these questions is about helping you to help yourself as well as helping us to help you.




Submitted on 6 October, 2016 - 11:42

Dear R Renoo

I wonder how you got on with your five-minute session on Kolb - what you decided to do based on the responses you got here on the forum?

I ask because I'm interested in how useful our contributions were.  The forum has always thrived on the good will of members - it's nice to have some feedback to build goodwill (or indeed, to know that this will not be forthcoming).  Personally, I wouldn't want to contribute too often to anyone who doesn't find my contributions useful or who, by contrast, finds them useful (or even not) but overlooks the opportunity to say thank you to people who have taken time to respond. 

So, just checking in.  And also giving you a gentle admonition for asking for inputs and choosing then, to make no response to those you received.