The Converger Style

People with a convergent learning style are called Convergers.  They are best at using the Abstract Conceptualization and Active Experimentation in the learning process.

General Characteristics of Convergers 

  • They have the ability to find practical applications for ideas, concepts, and theories.
  • They enjoy situations where there is a single or best answer to a question or problem and do best in situations such as conventional intelligence tests (where there is a single best answer).
  • They usually assume there is one best answer and use technical analysis to reveal it.
  • Their knowledge is organized so that through hypothetical-deductive reasoning, they can focus on specific problems.
  • They are rather unemotional, and prefer dealing with technical issues rather than people issues.
  • They may have a tendency to concentrate on the “thing” side of problems, topics or exercises.
  • They may underestimate the impact people’s values and emotions have on the way systems actually work.
  • They may come up with quick conclusions based on partial information only.

Convergers learn best from activities where:

  • There is an obvious link between the subject matter and a problem or opportunity on the job.
  • They are shown techniques for doing things with obvious practical advantages — “how to”.
  • They have the opportunity to try out techniques with feedback from a credible expert.
  • They are exposed to a model they can emulate.
  • They have an opportunity for immediate application “back home”.
  • Content is constantly tied to reality.
  • They can concentrate on practical issues — developing action plans and strategies, and solving “real” problems.

Convergers will be motivated by:

  • Activities which they perceive as relevant and realistic.
  • Case studies, problem-solving teams.
  • Experiential learning based on real-life situations through critical incidents resulting in practical skill development and immediate application.
  • Internships, field assignments.

Convergers learn least from, and may react against activities where:

  • The learning is not related to an immediate need they recognize nor an immediate benefit to be had.
  • Organizers of the learning event seem distant from reality — “ivory towered”.
  • There is no opportunity for practice or clear guidelines on how to perform the activity.
  • They feel that people are going around in circles and not getting anywhere.
  • There are political, managerial, or personal obstacles, to implementation of their learning.
  • There is no apparent reward from the learning activity.

Increasing learning power

To increase learning power, a Convergers need to place more emphasis on the Concrete Experience and Reflective Observation steps in the learning process.  This means placing a higher value on gathering and understanding non-quantitative information by looking at a situation from different perspectives.  To the Converger, the result may seem to slow their learning process down.  In fact, it will speed the long term accuracy by ensuring they are learning the most important things.

Convergers need to add the following learning skills and practices to their current ones:

  • Take a less active role in the workshop than they might usually take.
  • Spend time listening to others’ ideas; seeing the world as they see it, understanding their feelings and values.
  • Play the observer role from time to time and avoid making judgments or decisions about how well others are doing; instead, they should try to understand why others are doing or saying something.
  • Discuss the course or workshop topics with someone who has a Divergent learning style.  This person will see both questions and possibilities Convergers might tend to ignore or avoid.
  • Try to ask questions and collect information about the “human” side of the topic.
  • Avoid coming to quick conclusions.
  • Practice Listening with an open mind: this means trying to understand without making judgments.
  • Gather information: This means increasing the sources they use for information, and looking for different types of information.
  • Imagine the implications of situations: This is the opposite of planning applications.  It means looking at what’s behind a situation.