Although Honey and Mumford always advocated that individuals are best equipped to learn from a variety of different experiences if they have more or less equal preferences for all four learning styles, the fact remains that people do favour one or two of these styles above the others.
We will now turn our attention to the learners who favour the Learning Style known as Pragmatist. These learners need to be able to put their learning into practice in the real world immediately, to see make sure that it works. Abstract concepts and games are of little use to them unless they can see a way to put the ideas into action in their lives. They are basically experimenters, trying out new techniques and theories to see if they work. They will proactively search new ideas and take the first opportunity to try them out. However, they will also reject wild, spontaneous ideas that they believe will not work in practice. Their strength is the ability to always keep the goal in sight and constantly move towards it.
Pragmatists tend to become impatient with long discussions, digressions and brainstorming activities. Instead, they prefer to act quickly on the ideas that attract them. Their focus is on problem solving, and they love to plan and implement. They tend to see tasks and activities presented to them as challenges. In class and in meetings, pragmatists will speak their mind, simply and directly, and won’t think too much about hurting people’s feelings, provided the task is done. Their reports will be short and concise, because they cannot be bothered to beat about the bush.
As trainers, we need to understand how best to use the positive aspects of this learning style, while at the same time, being aware of possible stressors and obstacles to learning.
Pragmatists learn best when:
Pragmatists learn least when:
In a class, Pragmatists can be very useful to help others focus and effectively implement a plan. They will execute, coordinate, allocate tasks and monitor the process until the activity has been completed. Their confidence will help Analysts move from reflection to action and will tone down the Theoreticians’ need for perfection. Pragmatists have a high risk tolerance, so they fail they will try again until they find a solution that works, using a trial-and-error approach. For language learning, Pragmatists can be very positive addition to any group, grounding Theoreticians, focusing Empiricists and giving Analysts a purpose.