Living with the internet: learning online
Living with the internet: learning online

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Living with the internet: learning online

1.2.1 Your learning style

Imagine you are going to learn a new task. It could be laying a laminate floor, following a new recipe or learning to use a new TV remote control. How do you approach the task?

  • Approach 1 Do you sit down with the instructions and read them through before trying?

  • Approach 2 Do you get stuck in to the task straight away? Do you ask others for help and then move on to a new task as soon as this one is complete?

  • Approach 3 Do you ask around and get advice, ponder on the topic and weigh up the different ways of doing the task?

  • Approach 4 Do you read the instructions but are eager to put them into practice and get on with the job?

These four approaches were characterised by Honey and Mumford as distinct styles of learning:

  • Theorists read the instructions before starting a task. You are a theoretical learner if you choose Approach 1.

  • Activists will explore the task and learn from this exploration. Activist learners would use Approach 2.

  • Reflectors will think about the task in hand and consider the alternatives carefully before embarking on the task. This is a person who asks around and considers the different approaches to the task. This type of learner uses Approach 3 when learning new tasks.

  • Pragmatists prefer to learn by testing. They would consider how to apply an approach to the task in hand. Pragmatists would choose Approach 4.

The document 'Learning styles' that you downloaded earlier describes Honey and Mumford's learning styles in greater detail.

Click on the 'View document' link below to read Jon Rosewell on 'Learning styles'.

Learning styles [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Read the Learning Styles document now. Consider which style you most usually employ.

Of course you might do a bit of each, and you might use different techniques for different tasks.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus