What Is The Most Effective Learning Style – ‘One To One’ Or In Groups?

Surely the answer to this is the same as the answer to any other complex issue – ‘it depends’. Historically we view learning from our experience of childhood education and classrooms of thirty or so children with varying abilities and backgrounds miraculously taking on-board literacy, numeracy, science, the arts and plenty more. This can be either incredibly stimulating or a complete nightmare for us as students in the preparation for our lives ahead in work and at play.


Most of us have had limited experience of one-to-one teaching; where we’ve been ‘singled’ out for attention or for ‘special’ requirements like learning a musical instrument. These can be very trying circumstances; intensive focus on very specific requirements with no-one else to share the attention and nowhere to hide!

Today, however, more people are looking at one-to-one coaching, for example, as a way to get specific skills honed in a style that is bespoke to our individual requirements. We all remember some words of wisdom we received from someone we looked up to as a mentor or role model that gave us that individual focus and helped at a crucial stage in our development.

There are more opportunities today to look at different learning methodologies and chose those that best suit our needs. Here are some of the key areas that should be considered when choosing between Group or One-to-One learning:

Specific or Generic
How widely spread is the skills and knowledge required? How similar is the application to other related work environments? How easily transferable are the techniques needed?

Tailored or Off-the-Peg
To what extent does the learning and material need to be adapted for its application? How bespoke does the ‘fit’ need to be for the desired effect? Is there a ready-made solution available?

Simple, Complex or Subtle
Even complex subjects can be learnt in groups but sometimes where the distinctions are more subtle than complicated, a one-to-one approach ensures better understanding.Learning StylesSome individuals thrive in group activities whilst others find it easier to take on information without distractions or the need to compete for attention.

Cost v Investment
What is the budget available? Does it include the costs of premises, equipment, travel and accommodation? How much time is ‘lost’? What is the ROI expected and what is the most effective way to achieve it?