One prominent factor in a team’s effectiveness in teams, according to learning expert David A. Kolb PhD, is the careful consideration of the learning style of each team member.

“We are often most effective in our job when we work alongside team members with different learning styles who fulfill complementary jobs.” (Kolb, 2007)

This week, the students I am working with are exploring Kolb’s Learning Cycle along with other theories about the process of learning and learning styles. The goal is to understand themselves and others in order to be more effective as both learners and leaders.

One tool we utilize is the Kolb Learning Style Inventory.

It allows users to:

  • identify their preferred learning style
  • learn about strengths of each style
  • discover ways to develop and strengthen each learning style
  • use their learning styles effectively in problem solving, at work, at home, and on teams.

My students are completing a team assignment about learning styles. Since I assigned the teams before I knew anything about my students, I am curious to see how well dispersed the learning styles are within the teams. The most successful teams will include members who represent all four of Kolb’s Learning Styles.

Think about the teams you work with regularly. Do you know how each team member prefers to process new information? Have you identified and understood your own preferred learning style?

Once you identify the preferred learning style of your team members, you may be able to structure team communication and activities in order to capitalize on each team members’ strengths and abilities.

Differences in the way we prefer to learn and organize our work often leads to conflict on teams. Increased understanding of ourselves and others may lead to increased appreciation and cooperation among team members.

Join the conversation!

What is your preferred learning style?

If you have worked to understand the learning styles of team members, what effect has that had on the effectiveness of your teams?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.