The Four Learning Orientations

Learners situationally fall along the continuum of learning orientations. Depending on the specific learning circumstances, a learner may cover a full range of one learning orientation or move downwards or upwards in response to negative or positive responses, conditions, resources, results, expectations, and experiences. Most learners will respond with some level of resistance in negative environments. Upward change into new learning orientations requires greater effort and learner control and stronger intentions, feelings, and beliefs about learning.

Transforming learners deliberately use personal strengths, deep desires, strong emotions, persistent and assertive effort, and sophisticated, abstract or holistic thinking ability and strategies to self-manage learning successfully.

Transforming learners most often

  • think learning has great value and usefulness to the individual

  • enjoy acquiring new expertise and risk making mistakes to attain greater expertise

  • take responsibility and control of their learning and become actively involved in managing the learning process

  • use stimulating beliefs and emotions, such as intentions, motivation, passion, personal principles, and desires for high, challenging standards, to direct continual high-effort achievement of challenging personal goals.

  • are assertive, low maintenance learners that learn best in learning environments that encourage and support: risk-taking experiences; mentoring relationships; self-directed learning; complex, problem-solving situations; exploratory, high learner-controlled opportunities; and transformative goals and processes for long-term personal accomplishments and change.

  • like talking about new concepts, exploring new ideas, and taking the initiative.

  • avoid situations that provide highly structured, non-discovery, low learner-controlled environments, explicit guidance, and low-standard achievement.

To be more successful, transforming learners need to focus on task-completion and taking care of the details. Sometimes these learners are so intent on exploring the unknown, they forget their original goals and tasks and lose focus. Self-discipline helps them complete one goal or a set of goals before they move on to the next goal.