​In How You Learn Is How You Live: Using Nine Ways of Learn­ing to Trans­form Your Life, we iden­ti­fy nine approach­es to learn­ing and life. These styles are dynam­ic ways of nav­i­gat­ing the learn­ing cycle, empha­siz­ing some parts of the cycle over oth­ers. Learn­ing styles are not traits or pigeon­holes; they are more like a habit or steady state. Thus, styles are self-rein­forc­ing; we find a sweet spot in the way we nav­i­gate the learn­ing cycle and con­tin­ue to per­fect that approach. We lead with our pre­ferred style and default to it when we are on auto­mat­ic pilot or under stress.

Learn­ing styles also pro­vide a frame­work for under­stand­ing oth­ers whose approach­es are dif­fer­ent from yours. They are effec­tive in help­ing to guide team learning.

Your Learn­ing Style can be assessed by the Kolb Expe­ri­en­tial Learn­ing Pro­file. The assess­ment iden­ti­fies your per­son­al pre­ferred Learn­ing Style, as well as your Learn­ing Flex­i­bil­i­ty, that is, your abil­i­ty to use back-up styles based upon the con­text and situation.


Ini­ti­ates action to influ­ence oth­ers and seek new oppor­tu­ni­ties. In Ini­ti­at­ing style one net­works, thinks on his or her feet and takes risks to com­mit to a new course of action.


Finds mean­ing from deep involve­ment in expe­ri­ence and rela­tion­ships. In Expe­ri­enc­ing style one is aware of emo­tions, sen­sa­tion and intu­ition, and enjoys being in relationships.


Cre­ates mean­ing by observ­ing and reflect­ing on expe­ri­ences. In Imag­in­ing style one is recep­tive to many ideas and peo­ple, engages in pos­si­bil­i­ty think­ing and appre­ci­ates diversity.


Takes goal-direct­ed action that bal­ances accom­plish­ments with rela­tion­ships. In Act­ing style, one imple­ments a plan and acts to get things done on time.


Weighs the pros and cons of act­ing ver­sus reflect­ing and expe­ri­enc­ing ver­sus think­ing. In Bal­anc­ing style one iden­ti­fies blind spots in a total sit­u­a­tion, bridges dif­fer­ences between peo­ple, and flex­i­bly adapts to shift­ing priorities.


Con­nects expe­ri­ence and ideas through sus­tained reflec­tion. In Reflect­ing style one observes, takes mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives and waits to act until cer­tain of the outcome.


Con­verges to choose one course of action to solve prob­lems and achieve prac­ti­cal results. In Decid­ing style one sets per­for­mance goals, eval­u­ates progress toward achiev­ing them, and takes a stand.


Has capac­i­ty for dis­ci­plined involve­ment in abstract rea­son­ing, math­e­mat­ics and log­ic. In Think­ing style one uses hard data to ana­lyze solu­tions, frames argu­ments with log­ic and uses crit­i­cal thinking.


Inte­grates and sys­tem­atizes ideas through reflec­tion. In Ana­lyz­ing style one plans ahead to min­i­mize mis­takes, inte­grates infor­ma­tion to get the full pic­ture, and uses the­o­ries and mod­els to test assumptions.