Conforming Learners

Transforming Learner | Performing Learner | Conforming Learner | Resistant Learner


Conforming Learners like routine, structure, supportive relationships, and stability. They generally are more compliant and will more passively accept knowledge, store it, and reproduce it to conform, complete assigned tasks (if they can) and often please and help others. These learners typically prefer to leave the holistic, critical, or analytical thinking to others.

  Conforming Learners value step-by-step feedback and guidance to help them monitor and review progress, accomplish goals set by others, and plan next steps. They generally prefer to be less sophisticated learners and have less desire to control or manage their own learning, take risks, or initiate change in their jobs or environment. Their focus is on social interaction and supportive relationships.

Learning in open learning environments, which focus on high learner control, discovery or exploratory learning, complex problem-solving, challenging goals, and inferential direction, may frustrate, demoralize, or demotivate these learners--without sufficient support and scaffolding. In contrast, with sufficient support and scaffolding, these learners can increasingly improve learning ability and accomplishment. They will be able to assume greater responsibility for their learning in more structured environments.

These learners work best with scaffolded structure, guiding direction, simple problems, linear sequencing, and explicit feedback. They would profit most from a variety of blended learning solutions that provide additional support from instructors and peers.

    CONTRASTS: In contrast to other orientations, conforming learners learn best in well-structured, collaborative or directive environments using step-by-step procedures. Unlike transforming and performing learners, who have stronger, more positive beliefs about learning and greater learning efficacy, these learners may believe that achievement is often due to luck and that learning is most useful when it helps them avoid risk and meet the basic requirements in their job. They often prefer to use minimum effort on simpler goals that others set for them and help them achieve.

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Created by the Successful Learning Research Team.
Some projects were funded in part by the Society for Technical Communication
(STC Research Award, 1997-1998).
Updated November 2010 by Margaret Martinez & The Training Place, Inc.
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Copyright © Margaret Martinez 1996-2010