Gib Akin (1940-2014)professor at chalkboard was a writer on business and management, and professor emeritus at the McIntyre School of Business of the University of Virginia.  He conducted qualitative interviews with 60 managers to understand how they learn.   This study can help us understand how to interact with learners and our patients.

Let’s briefly explore each of these learning modes:

Role Taking

This learning mode involves putting oneself in the shoes of another person, typically to gain a deeper understanding of their perspective, experiences, and motivations. It can help individuals develop empathy and see the world from different points of view.


Emulation refers to the act of imitating or copying the behavior or actions of someone else whom you admire or consider a role model. It can be a powerful way to learn new skills and behaviors by observing and replicating the actions of those who excel in a particular area.

Practical Accomplishment

Learning through practical accomplishment involves gaining knowledge and skills through hands-on experiences and the successful completion of tasks. This mode emphasizes learning by doing and achieving tangible results.


Anticipation involves looking forward to future experiences or challenges and preparing for them in advance. It encourages individuals to plan and strategize, which can enhance their ability to navigate future situations successfully.

Personal Growth

This mode focuses on self-improvement and self-awareness. It involves learning from one’s own experiences, reflecting on personal growth and development, and actively seeking opportunities for self-improvement.

Scientific Learning

Scientific learning refers to the systematic and analytical approach to acquiring knowledge and understanding the world. It often involves research, critical thinking, experimentation, and the application of scientific principles to learn about various phenomena.

Gib Akin’s Modes of Learning
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