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Learning Styles Affect Teamwork - Insights For Leadership

Ken Long

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The following notes are from The Kolb Learning Style Inventory- Version 3.1, 2005 Technical Specification. Published by Experience based Learning Systems, Inc (2005). ELT stands for Experiential Learning Theory, a leading explanation of how adults learn in the real world

Notes from the use of LSI as applied to Teams:

  1. Homogenous groups perform equally, regardless of quadrant. That means that when people flock together with people just like them, they all perform equally well, by using groupthink.
  2. Mixed groups are shown to outperform homogenous groups on a wide variety of problem types. This means diversity really pays off!
  3. Random groups outperform self-selected groups, which I believe is a natural outcome of note 2 above: the human tendency to self select into comfortable groups of like minded individuals. Beware the tendency to let your people get too comfortable in their small groups.
  4. Learning in classrooms will improve when attention is paid to roles and assignments that are informed by LSI style. You can actually plan for better performance by understanding your people.
  5. Groups that cycle iteratively through the 4 stages of the ELT outperform groups that skip steps (process matters), particularly as problems increase in complexity. Having a good process improves your chances of success.
  6. Training students and group members on LSI and ELT theory will improve their learning and their group performance in problem solving. We all do better when we understand ourselves and our teammates.

Notes on research on ELT (Experiential Learning Theory):

  1. ELT is shown to have equal or better learning effect for students as conventional practice, but ELT is shown to improve retention weeks and monyhs later. It is suggested that this is because more learning styles/experiences are activated and emotions are affected.
  2. Instructor performance in ELT is absolutely critical to the outcome and includes dimensions such as attitude toward ELT, skill and technique in leading and creating the educational environment.
  3. ELT takes more time to do properly than conventional techniques of delivering education.

Ken Long, Chief of Research, Tortoise Capital Management

Adding value through independent research, combining technical analysis and human behavioral psychology

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