Method Mix

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Learning styles are different and when using methods, that address different senses or ways of expression we may have a bigger impact on the learning outcome of our participants. The challenge is that everybody feels attracted, although not all share the same bias concerning methods. Therefore we advocate for a mix of different methods. Beyond personal preferences creative and diversified learning arrangements that address different senses stimulate participants' motivation.

Addressing Transversal Competencies

Basically, we need to make sure that the outcome of our teaching is more than just knowledge, and includes building skills and attitudes. Our methods need to be appropriate for the development of such competencies as the sum of skills, knowledge, and attitudes. When looking over your learning schedule, check, to what extent all fields of key competencies are reflected:

Task-specific factual compe­tence

Do your methods help your participants to: Identify adequate, knowledge-based solutions for tasks and problems?

  • Expertise in the specific field or topic of your training...
  • ...and how it relates systematically within its field and to other fields

Methodo­logical compe­tence

Are you offering adequate opportunities for training and conscious, goal-oriented action?

  • Practicing choosing methodologies and evaluating outcomes.
  • Experiential learning

Social compe­tence

How might your participants consciously experience their relationshipwith other people and actively experiment in shaping their social relationships?

  • Cooperation and teamwork
  • Reflecting on different interests, needs, and tensions.
  • Team and conflict management skills.

Personal compe­tence

Do you leave enough space for your participants to act autonomously,in a self-organized and reflective way?

  • Addressing responsibility, appreciating existing competencies in your participants
  • Training participants to observe and evaluate requirements or options.
  • Reflecting on how a participant assumes responsibility and approaches self-directed learning.

Balancing Diverse Needs

A variety of methods in your training can correspond to the diverse needs of your target group. The challenge is to get the attention of all your participants, despite their differing needs and preferences concerning the methods. This is less a question of what kind of competencies are being addressed than of preferred learning styles and ways of incorporating knowledge. Recognizing people’s diversity we advocate for a balance - creative and diversified learning arrangements that address different senses and stimulate participants’ motivation. For example:

activity - cognition

creativity - monotony,

groupwork - individual work

playfulness - seriousness

experience - theory

mobility - fixed location


So after a phase of playfulness, seriousness helps us to refocus. After a phase of group work, some people enjoy an opportunity for individual reflection.

Inhale and Exhale

Learning is a balanced circle of a learners activity ("breath out") and a more passive observing/reflecting role ("breath in"). Both need to be balanced and you might mix methods that address active experimentation with those that allow observation and reflection. After active involvement participants need a relaxation phase. After input participants wish often to become active again.

Active Experimentation

  • Games
  • Discussions
  • Group work
  • Changing locations
  • ...


Observation, consumption, reflection

  • Listening to a presentation
  • Hearing others' opinions
  • Movies
  • Reading
  • Coffee break
  • ...


Divergent and Convergent Thinking


Divergent Thinking

Exploring new and original ideas about a topic and drawing inspiration from the ideas or action of others leads to a colorful bouquet of opportunities. It enables participants to collect material for later reasoning, be mentally open for new experience, gain inspiration

Convergent Thinking

To enable learners' creative potential, the learning process should also encompass activities which challenge learners' capacities for convergence - evaluating, selecting, reasoning. Evaluate and organize impressions and insights, Follow a goal and finalize processes, Deepen their understanding of a certain topic or process

The Whole Personality

Make sure that participants' whole personalities and a diversity of learning preferences are addressed. The goal is that in larger periods of time (half days or days of a training), we use a variety of cognitive, emotional and practical learning.



  • Thinking
  • Judging
  • Interpreting
  • Discussions
  • Readings
  • ...


  • Emotional experiences
  • Visiting groups
  • Role models
  • Social experience in the group
  • Valuing outcomes
  • ...


  • Practice outside the classroom
  • Learning by doing
  • Simulation games
  • Implementing projects
  • Addressing the sense of initiative
  • ...

Created By nez


Also interesting:

Our Handbooks Holistic-learning-book-cover.png

E. Heublein, N. Zimmermann

Holistic Learning

Second Handbook for Facilitators: Read more