4MAT

Delivering Instructions That Everyone Can Understand

4MAT

Different people have different learning styles.

© iStockphoto/Kaluna

We're all familiar with times in our life when we really "connected" with instructors, making learning a real pleasure and making acquisition of new skills almost effortless.

And we'll also remember times when we just weren't "on the same wavelength" as someone we had to learn from. Learning became a difficult, unpleasant, slow chore.

And at times when we may have trained others, perhaps in a formal training role or in passing knowledge on to our teams, we've probably found teaching some people easy, while others seem to have difficulty even with really simple things.

What's particularly frustrating is that the mismatches of style that cause many of these learning difficulties have long lasting effects, in terms both of personal outcomes and of team member and team performance.

4MAT is a different approach to instruction that seeks to overcome these differences in style, engage all learners, and present information in a format and using an approach which suits all.

If you are responsible for training and coaching team members or others (and most managers and professionals are, to some degree), then you need to know 4MAT and use it to a greater or lesser extent if you are to get the best from all of the people you are developing.

Important Ideas 1: "Learning Styles"

David Kolb's ideas of experiential learning and learning styles lie at the root of 4MAT. Kolb (a well-respected learning guru) argued that there are four different learning styles, and that different people prefer different approaches for learning information:

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