According to David A. Kolb (an American educational theorist) there are four destinct learning styles. People tend to grasp new concepts and ideas best with one of these four learning styles (see also: Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development by David A. Kolb). If you know which of these styles fits your personality you can learn new things easier. You can also use this knowledge to your advantage if you are a teacher. This applies to learning golf as well, of course. As there are so many different approaches to learning the game out there and so much information, knowing what corresponds with you the most can help you a lot to improve faster and work on your golf swing more effectively. The four learning styles are the why-, how-, what- and what-if learning style.
The ‘Why’ Learning Style
These people tend to ask the question of why with everything they are learning. In fact they are not even able to understand new concepts or ideas if they don’t know why they should learn these things. Generally why-people start from details and work there way up to the big picture. They enjoy teamwork but don’t like conflicts. The overall outcome matters most to them.
For example: A why-guy needs to know exactly why he needs to change his grip or posture. If you tell him that it’s simply the right thing to do. That won’t be enough. You have to explain to him cause and effect and what the overall outcome will be.
The ‘How’ Learning Style
How learning style people ask the question of how. They always need to know exact steps to take. If you give them a general concept or idea they will struggle with it because they don’t know which steps to do first. If you give them a list of things they can follow from A to Z they learn much faster.
For example: If you give a how guy a picture of the proper address position he will struggle with it. If you go through the specific steps of how to build the address position starting with a neutral stance he will learn much faster.
The ‘What’ Learning Style
The ‘What’ people need all the information they can get. They always ask the question of what and are the most cognitive of the four learning styles. These people learn best with lectures, conversation and demonstrations. The what-people like to stay serious they don’t really like to play around but gather information from experts and authorities. They want the facts.
For example: If you do some playful drills with a what-guy he will feel out of place and not really learn that much. If you give him some reading material (especially if its some acadamic stuff) he will gobble it down happily.
The ‘What-If’ Learning Style
These people ask the question of ‘what if’. They like to get right into action with a fire, ready, aim approach. They take creative risks to find out for themselves what works and what not. They always want direct interaction and don’t like to conceptualize much.
For example: If you give a what-if guy a lecture about proper swing path he will learn almost nothing. Instead you should let him experiment by himself and give him some guidance along the way.
So What Now?
Try to think about which learning style fits your personality most and use this knowledge to learn faster and more efficient. Maybe talk to your local teaching professional how you learn best. I for example am a how and what if kinda guy. I need to get out there and try things to grasp what things mean. So when I’m working on improving my game I think about specific steps I can actually do and don’t hesitate to put them into reality. What’s your learning style?