Author Archives: michael4mat2

About Learning at Work: 4MAT and the Learning Organization

In the following months we will be posting mini blogs to discuss the values found in using 4MAT for corporate learning. Subsequent ones will focus on the gifts and skills of each of the four quadrants and the enrichments achieved through 4MAT understandings and use.

The earliest users of the 4MAT Model perceived what a difference cycle knowing could make for learners everywhere. We wondered together if this kind of Cycle knowing could make a real difference in students’ lives, why not in business and corporate learners?

Could learning how to learn bring discipline, balance and perhaps transformation to an organization? In our research a profile of the learning organization emerged, problem solving, decision making, team building a continuing renewal by going through the cycle, from meaning to structure, to operations, and new adapted understandings.

One of our first corporate clients reported:

“From our organizational structure,
to the formation of a project team,
to the planning for a meeting,
to the everyday dialogue,
we experience the value of differences.
4MAT has helped us to accomplish this.
We have woven an organizational fabric that has a rich texture, with diversity proving
to be amazingly strong and resilient.”
—Randall Murphy, founder of Acclivus

In the 4MAT Framework of balance and wholes,
There is a real community in which a common vision is shared,
There is a defined and agreed-upon structure that is congruent with the vision,
Methods that honor the vision are in place to accomplish and monitor goals,
Refocusing procedures are in place for continued stretching the possible boundaries.

The Neurobiology of Learning. 10 Key Recommendations for Enhancing Learning.

The Neurobiology of Learning 

by Michael J. Friedlander  March 31, 2011

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 4.55.54 PMMichael J. Friedlander is the executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and professor of biological sciences and of biomedical engineering and science at  Virginia  Tech.

He is the lead author on this article entitled The Neurobiology of Learning. This article provides 10 recommendations for learning design that were made by a prestigious panel of brain experts.

They believe that by incorporating these recommendations into instructional design more effective teaching will result.

We created an article summarizing the 10 recommendations from this panel, along with our comments in yellow on how these concepts relate to the 4MAT Design Model, a tool for creating more dynamic and engaging instruction.

View our summary of their 10 recommendations.

Or to learn more about 4MAT, visit the  About Learning Web site.

Guidelines for Managing with the 4MAT Learning Cycle

4MAT is a proven system for building more successful learning environments, and as a meta-model it applies in a variety of contexts.

And while it is often used in teaching or training, it is equally useful as a tool for improving communications, management methods or leadership practices within an organization or group.


The goal is to help managers use more diverse and inclusive methods to learning to encourage greater participation and involvement among those who are vested in learning.

To see how well you are managing around the 4MAT Learning Cycle, we invite you to download this free Handout that is excerpted from our 4-Day 4MAT Leadership Program. This activity was designed to help managers reflect on how well they were integrating 4MAT into their own practice.

Managers Checklist for Moving through the 4MAT Learning Cycle.

Let us know how well you are integrating the principles of inclusive learning (4MAT) into your current management methods.

4MATION® Software Update

4MATION Online Development Software
Order now at the special introductory rate…

To explore our software for creating and sharing 4MAT wheels, accessing hundreds of high quality units, and learning the 8 steps to creating more dynamic and engaging instruction.

We just upgraded the software with a host of new features including a new Instructional Resources Area for building your own database of  resources, new tutorials and guidance in the 4MAT Model and its effective implementation and a database of pop-in strategies for creating more dynamic and engaging instruction, to name a few.

Order now at the special rate of just $79 by using the About Learning online shopping cart. 4MATION subscriptions are on sale now through May 15th so act now to take advantage of this special sale price.

About Learning April and May Webinars

About Learning Webinars provide great insights into how to improve the process of teaching and learning. Please join us for the following free sessions scheduled for April and May, 2020. All sessions are from 3-4:00 PM CST.

Monday, April 20th




Meta Analysis of Learning Styles Models from Turkey, including the 4MAT Model of Teaching.

A new meta-analysis of learning styles models from Turkey has some interesting findings about these types of educational interventions. Hare are key highlights from this research. To view the entire research study, you can use this link to view the full PDF File. This research article was published Online in October of 2016 in the journal Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice

Overview of the meta-analysis

The total sample size included in this review was 2159. The treatment groups consisted of 1075 and the control groups consisted of 1084 students. Here was analysis of how the research studies were selected or inclusion in this meta-analysis.

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The table below shows the frequency distribution of the studies by course type, study type, learning style model, experimental design and investigated variable.

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According to Table 1, in terms of course type, 30% (f = 9) of the studies involved natural science (science, physics, chemistry, biology), 23.3% (f = 7) involved math, 20% (f = 6) involved social science (social studies, history, geography), 16.7% (f = 8) involved English, 6.7% (f = 2) involved informatics and 3.3% (f = 1) involved music. In terms of study type; 53.3% (f = 16) of the studies are thesis and 46.7% (f = 14) are articles.

In regards to the types of learning style models involved, here is the breakdown:

  • 43.3% (f = 13) of the studies employed the Perceptual Learning Styles Model,
  • 33.3% (f = 10) employed the 4MAT Model,
  • 6.7% (f = 2) employed the Kolb Learning Styles Model,
  • 10.1% (f = 3) employed the Dunn & Dunn Learning Styles Model,
  • 3.3% (f = 1) employed the Felder & Solomon and Brain 2070 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES: THEORY & PRACTICE Dominance Model.

In terms of experimental design, 86.7% (f = 26) of the studies used quasi-experimental design and 13.3% (f = 4) used true-experimental design. In terms of investigated variable, 58.0% (f = 29) of the studies investigated the effect of learning style on achievement, 22.0% (f = 11) investigated the effect of learning style on attitude and 20.0% (f = 10) investigated the effect of learning style on retention.

Effect Sizes of Learning Styles Models 

Under the random effect model, the common effect sizes were as follows.

Studies employing the…

  • 4MAT System, 1.168 (0.860, 1.477);
  • Perceptual Learning Style Model, 0.870 (0.653, 1.023);
  • Dunn & Dunn Learning Style Model, 1.331 (1.047, 1.087);
  • Kolb Learning Styles Model, 1.067 (−0.876, 3.009).

These results reveal that there is not a meaningful difference between the effects sizes of the classification created according to course type: namely the effect sizes of the courses tailored to learning styles model on the academic achievement are independent of course type.

When the effect sizes of 11 studies included in this review were combined according to the random effect model, the common effect size was calculated as (d) 1.113 with 0.227 standard error and 95% confidence intervals of 1.557 and 0.669. This common effect size is large according to the Cohen’s (1988) classification. This d value is associated with a U3 value of 84.1%, which means that the average student receiving instruction tailored to their learning styles scored higher on attitude tests than 84.1% of students receiving no instruction.

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When the effect sizes of 10 studies included in this review were combined according to the random effect model, the common effect size was computed as (d) 1.763 with 0.241 standard error and 95% confidence intervals of 1.763 and 0.817. This common effect size is large according to the Cohen’s (1988) classification.

This d value is associated with a U3 value of 90.3%. This means that the average student receiving instruction tailored to their learning styles scored higher on retention tests than 90.3% of students receiving no instruction.

When the effect sizes of 10 studies included in this review were combined according to the random effect model, the common effect size was computed as (d) 1.763 with 0.241 standard error and 95% confidence intervals of 1.763 and 0.817. This common effect size is large according to the Cohen’s (1988) classification.

This d value is associated with a U3 value of 90.3%. This means that the average student receiving instruction tailored to their learning styles scored higher on retention tests than 90.3% of students receiving no instruction.     

In these meta-analytic review, it was found that when student received an instruction tailored to their learning style, their attitude (d = 1.113) toward courses improved and their learning was more permanent (d=1.290).

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Comparison of Effect Sizes to Hattie’s Barometer of Influence.

When comparing this to Hattie’s Barometer of Influence,  it is clear that this meta-analysis shows a very positive impact for learning style interventions and the 4MAT Model of Instruction in particular. The Chart above displays the impact of 4MAT on the Hattie Scale and places it near the top of the Desired Effects for an Educational Intervention. 

According to these results, it can be said that the learning environment designed based on learning styles has a large effect on students’ attitude toward course and learning retention.

About Teaching Book Excerpt on Intuition

About Teaching Excerpt on Intuitive Approaches to Teaching

Antonio Damasio, Professor of Neurology at the University of Iowa, speaks of consciousness as feeling moments when we form images of something new in our minds and know wordlessly it has changed us. Nel Noddings speaks of intuition as a way of knowing, a process of creating pictures in our minds to come to understanding—a process that needs to permeate the entire learning act—from perceiving to conceiving to acting to integrating. Domasio’s perspective is that of a neurologist, Noddings’ is that of an educator with an abiding passion for enhancing the place of intuition as an essential educational concept. They both describe how we come to know.

Intueri: to look upon, to see within, to contemplate.

The act or faculty of knowing directly, without the use of rational processes.

• Intuition is deep knowing.

• It is the voice of our insight interacting with the world.

• It is tight, intense focus.

• Immediate and direct, an unconscious source of knowledge.

• It provides the foundation for experience.

• Educators, by and large, have left it out of the teaching enterprise.

IntuitionGraphicIn order to motivate students to attend to learning, we must make them come alive. We need to appeal to their senses, connect to their lives, involve them in wanting to learn the material. We need to engage them, create the clearings deep within that ignite their inner knowing, set up receiving climates so they can move through the learning process with their own motivation.

Truth is within ourselves, it takes no rise

From outward things, whate’er you may believe

…and to know

Rather consists in opening out a way

Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,

Than in effecting entry for a light

Supposed to be without.

—Robert Browning

It is not enough to use the methods above to encourage the intuitive, without the search for meaning as the ultimate goal. The teacher’s task is to set up the climate, the situation, the parameters, the concrete experiences that will move students to a quest for their own meaning.

We cannot give meaning, it is for our students to create their own meaning. Perhaps in trying to give meaning, we actually destroy the intuitive mode, taking away the very mechanism for creating meaning in our desire to short-circuit the process for our students, an impossible task and a cruel attempt to rob them of their own experience.”9

In our attempts to pull students quickly into the content, we rob them of the chance to call upon their own experience. We need to set up the climate where personal valuing can flourish. As the value of the learning becomes theirs, they will merge the energy of their intuition with their reasoning power. Such synergy results in deep levels of comprehension.

Noddings speaks of the creative tension between subjective certainty and objective uncertainty–when you know something in your heart and mind, yet need to examine the issues and details more closely. You are sure, yet you stay open enough to see the issues from many sides. This is the act of living in the creative tension that Nodding is describing. She extols teachers to keep this tension active and exciting in the minds and hearts of their students.

If the intuitive mode ends successfully, skepticism with respect to the result of incipient product vanishes and only questions concerning execution remain.

If we doubt its capacities or mistrust its contributions, we make intuition, in effect, hesitant.

Its appearances will be erratic and its input ambiguous. On the other hand, acceptance and confidence create receptivity. If we issue an open invitation and make intuition feel that visits are welcomed at any time, it can become a perfect guest, showing up on all the right occasions, dressed properly and bearing felicitous gifts.

—Philip Goldberg

Intuitive People Tend to Be: 

  • unconventional and comfortable about being unconventional
  • confident
  • self-sufficient
  • emotionally involved in abstract issues, both intellectual issues and human values
  • able to entertain doubts and uncertainties without fear
  • willing to take criticism and challenge
  • able to accept or reject criticism, whichever the case
  • willing to change if they see the need
  • resistant to outside control
  • independent
  • foresighted
  • spontaneous

Encourage students to trust their intuitive sensibilities. Those who enjoy uncertainty and challenge usually give their intuition room to function freely. If they are able to blend their intuitive sense with their rational “check-it-out sense,” they have a duet of powerful skills for successful problem solving.

Steps to Becoming a Master Teacher: Promote Student Creative Performance

Promote Student Creative Performance

Quadrant 4 is where people must adapt learning in their own unique ways.

The goal for teachers in Quadrant 4 is to help people produce creative adaptations or explorations of learning. This might involve evaluating the use of learning or producing or performing a creative interpretation or evaluation.

Key Question What If?

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 11.35.24 AMQuadrant 4 is where people create new understanding through personal evaluation and or extension of learning.  It is not enough to just understand the content, it must be put to use in the real world and adapted in a personally meaningful way.

This is just one of the things you will learn in 4MAT Training as you work to master this transformative approach to teaching and learning. 

Learn More About 4MAT Training

But if you want to truly master the 4MAT Learning Cycle, or become a 4MAT In-House Trainer or Consultant, while earning One Full Graduate Credit Hour…

Learn more about 4MAT Online Training This Fall  (begins Sept 24th)

4MAT Pure and Simple Book Excerpt

Teaching seldom begins with meaningful experiential connections. Instruction often begins with lists of what must be learned—couched in measurable objectives concerning materials that are frequently outside learner experience and interest. Recent research from the Gates Foundation finds that less than 3% of teachers demonstrate regard for student perspectives.

And so teachers hear the incessant, ubiquitous Why do I need to know this? question.

Some claim this is the way it must be. Students need patience. There are many things to learn. It takes too much time to explore the underlying meanings, to excite students about what must be learned. That’s just the way it is. Students are expected to ignore the need for meaningful experiences (in school at least) and just learn the material. They are told the reasons will become clear later. 

1. ConnectBut something very important happens when you begin with an experiential connection.

The learner is caught up in it. There’s a level of emotion, an impact and a newness often accompanied by an ineffable sense of recognition. The learner reflects and ponders, seeks out more knowledge, and has the desire to talk it through and discuss it with others.

Teachers must begin by enabling learners to confront new learning from the vantage of their own experiences. Engaging in this process means coming to balance with the otherness of the learning. It’s about the learner and the learning. It’s about being and knowing. This process is at the heart of 4MAT pedagogy and is the key to all successful teaching. 

The 4MAT Model is a process for moving people through a dynamic learning cycle:

  1. To connect learners to significant concepts through the lens of their own experience, and to bring them together to share their perceptions
  2. To introduce them to excellent knowledge and ideas,
  3. To teach them to critique and examine, by creating multiple practice activities that enable all learners to achieve mastery, and
  4. To encourage creativity, by moving them beyond content for its own sake to the adaptation of learning in their own lives.

4MAT requires teachers to convince learners of the value of the learning by drawing it forth from their own experiences, then leading them through the work of the experts to their own work, their own use of it.

It is as open-ended as the very student diversity it serves.

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