The Divergent Learning Style

People with Divergent learning styles are called Divergers because a person with this preference performs better in situations that call for the generation of ideas. They are at their best using the Concrete Experience and Reflective Observation steps in learning.

General characteristics of Divergers:

  • They have the ability to view specific situations from many perspectives.
  • They enjoy brainstorming and small group discussions.
  • They have a tendency to watch events rather than participate in them.
  • They are interested in people and have a tendency to concentrate on the “human” side of problems, topics or exercises.  This reflects their ability to understand or empathize with others’ feelings or points of view.
  • They tend to be imaginative and emotional.
  • They have broad cultural interests.
  • They may have a tendency to avoid drawing conclusions about the quantitative or technical aspects of situations.

Divergers learn best from activities where:

  • They are allowed or encouraged to watch/think about activities that are underway.
  • They are able to stand back from events and listen and observe.
  • They are allowed to think before acting; to assimilate before commenting.
  • They can carry out investigative research.
  • They are required to produce carefully considered analyses and reports.
  • They can reach a decision without pressure or tight deadlines.

Divergers will be motivated by:

  • Opportunities for fact-finding.
  • Solitary reflection and analysis.
  • Individualized activities.
  • Case studies and task groups.
  • Reflective papers and journals.
  • Socratic dialogue.

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

  • They are forced into the limelight — acting as chairperson or role-playing in front of peers.
  • They are involved in situations that require action without planning.
  • They are thrown into doing something without warning.
  • They are given insufficient data on which to base a conclusion.
  • They are given “cut and dried” instructions on how things should be done.
  • They are worried by time pressures or rushed from one activity to another.
  • In the interests of expediency, they must take shortcuts or do a superficial job.