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4 Learning Orienations Overview

The Learning Orientation Questionnaire (LOQ) identifies four learning orientations. Learners generally fall along the three construct scales for learning orientations. Depending on the specific learning circumstances, a learner may respond 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 intentional learning orientations requires greater effort, more learner control, and stronger intentions, feelings, and beliefs about learning. 

  1. Transforming Learning Orientation
  2. Performing Learning Orientation
  3. Conforming Learning Orientation
  4. Resistant Learning Orientation

To be effective, learning environments should address the unique sources for learning differences that influence success. More specifically, it should emulate the instructor's experienced, intuitive ability to recognize and respond to how individuals learn differently. Also, the environment should creatively foster interest, value, and more successful, independent learning. An efficient, economical way to accomplish this challenging task is to use learning orientations to match individualized solutions. Below are descriptions for customized learning environments that fit each of the following three learning orientations: 

  • Transforming Learners prefer loosely structured, flexible mentoring environments that promote challenging goals, discovery, strategies, problem solving, and self-managed learning. 
  • Performing Learners prefer semi-structured environments that stimulate personal value and provide details, tasks, processes, and creative interaction (hands-on) not exploration and great effort.
  • Conforming Learners prefer simple, safe, low-learner control, structured environments that help learners achieve comfortable, low-risk learning goals in a linear fashion. 

These descriptions support the broad variability in learning from a whole-person perspective, not simply in cognitive terms. They consider how emotions and intentions influence learning.  Research shows that a supportive learning environment will clearly have a positive impact on learning success for the majority of learners. To reduce costs, you can create the conforming learning environment as a subset of the performing environment, which in turn is a subset of the transforming environment.

This research discusses the theoretical foundations for understanding sources for individual learning differences. Discovery in the neurosciences in the last ten years have revealed the extraordinary complexities of brain activity and multiple levels of processes interacting dynamically. These theories highlight more than the cognitive element, they explore the dominant power of emotions and intentions on learning and the very human variability of online learning. This perspective is more robust than typical, primarily cognitive (thinking) explanations (such as, learning styles and strategies), because it discusses the interplay between a more comprehensive set of key psychological factors. 

These theories specifically enhance the instructional design process, differentiate audience needs (both as aggregate types and individually), and provide strategies for developing new solutions (e.g., relationships, tools, content, and environments). They help integrate the sophisticated technology that makes adaptive or personalized learning environments possible and very useful in developing successful online relationships (emulating the instructor-student relationships). The concept of personalizing for customers is certainly not new. But the Web and the sophisticated use of technology powered by learning objects elevate personalization to a new art form. The Web is the perfect environment for precision and predictive learning, because individuals can be uniquely identified, and relevant content, tools, and environments specifically tailored to them. 

LOQ Industry and Academic Applications