More on Learner Types: 4MAT Model

In my last post, I shared that we need to focus more on cognitive styles of learners rather than their learning preferences. In this post, I further share on learner types categorized in 4Mat model (created by Bernice McCarthy) and how we could apply it in eLearning design. I’ve created a visual summary of 4Mat below.

icons from flaticon

Learners, in 4Mat model, are categorized into four types. To design a memorable course and achieve learning transfer it is necessary that we allow learners to experience all four of them by creating a learning experience cycle in our course design. Most of us are one or two types of the quadrants, but in order to retain the information and use it in real life in different contexts, we have to experience all four quadrants of 4Mat learner types.

The first step is to create strategies that engage the learner. This is not new to us, but what is essential is to let learners know ‘why’ they should do the course? How does it relate to them, or help them with their work/life. Answering these questions and sharing them with the learner can somewhat help them see the reason for doing the course.

The second step is to think how to share the course content/information with the learner. Whilst we mostly receive the content from a subject-matter expert (SME), we should still decide ‘what’ and how much of information need to be included.

The next part of design considers common-sense learners, in which we design activities that allow them to apply and practice the information and see ‘how’ it works.

In the final step, which I find as an anchor, we cater to dynamic learners. We create activities, discussions, strategies, or assessments that help them ‘perform’ what they’ve learned. This is certainly through using authentic activities and assessments. To me, this is the step I believe I should consider first in my course design. Backward design model emphasizes on this as well.

All and all, as our goal should be learning transfer and creating an experience in which learners can achieve performance outcomes, we must ensure to fully understand their real-world expected skills from our SMEs. If my learners are university students, I ask my SMEs what skills and competencies they need to build in order to land a job and perform well after completion of this course. If they are already employed or I’m designing a training, I ask them what skills learners need to develop in order to improve their performance at workplace, or be promoted.

Well, I must add that 4Mat model is mostly used in face-to-face training. But this can surely be applied in eLearning or blended design as well. After all, how many times haven’t we seen a course with pages of content, some basic activities, and a quiz in the end, but with a bulk of visuals, sounds, and animations?

Cognitive Styles in Learning Design


Most of us when being trained or studying instructional design have been told to take learner’s learning styles or preferences into consideration. This has made us think that we must design eLearning courses which have to cater for visual and auditory learners, or even kinesthetic ones. While this is a very good thing, I feel we are going to extremes about this. Let me share with you why I think so. Continue reading

The Long-Awaited Change in Learning

collage.change post

I recently finished a book, called Simpleology, by Mark Joyner and some parts of it resonated with me as an L&D professional. Joyner shares a few simple and straightforward rules of success and happiness that have helped the greatest minds to achieve their goals.

I’m not writing a book review in my post; it’s merely sharing two of the rules that made me think about what we are doing and trying to achieve as IDs, & L&Ds.

To get things we want, we do strange things, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. That’s ok! If nobody tried anything new, we’d be stuck with the same old things and that would make life boring.

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Learning Agility

Last week’s topic of #PKMchat was agile learning. This relatively new buzzword has captured L&D professionals’ attention, as learning agility has become increasingly important for the growth and success of organizations. Companies are bound to go through transitions to keep up with this growingly competitive world. So, the need for individuals to alter their mindset is essential; as I believe learning agility is a mindset not a skill. That is why I tend to think it makes it more difficult to make individuals be agile learners. I say this, because I’ve had ample discussions with colleagues who believe as long as they make ends meet and can pay their bills by having a secure job, there is nothing more they should do. Similarly, managers who believe that change can be chaotic and employees might resist, hence this might jeopardize their position. So the question is, “how do we make individuals change their mindset, readily accept change and innovation, and move away from their comfort zone and their routines?” I’ll share my personal views in the end.

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ReAct Resilience Workshop – My First Volunteering Experience as an ID

Last year I volunteered for a charitable organization_ ReAct _ whose cause is different from many other NPOs that I have seen or worked with. ReAct aims to empower caregivers and help build essential skills in the orphaned to make them ready for a better future, rather than providing their basic needs only. This is what I have always sought, i.e. educating the underprivileged, or in other words teaching them how to fish. One of the skills that all the kids need to possess is being resilient to problems and hardships. That is why I hopped on an exciting journey to create the Resilience course for them.

Initially, I had an eLearning course in mind, which could be distributed in CDs or online, but having learned about poor conditions of orphanages, this seemed to be very unlikely. So the sole delivery mode was face-to-face followed by ongoing support to help them build their skills in being more resilient, assertive, and optimistic. Obviously, a one-or-two-day workshop will not change their behavior significantly, and they need time to build and master this skill. After I completed content writing and course design using scenario-based learning, we decided to run a pilot to see how the kids find it before conducting it in a large scale. After all, they are the target audience and their reactions and suggestions mean a lot. Besides, it was important for me to receive their feedback as I was not familiar with their culture and lifestyle.

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