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Learning Strategies

Learning Strategies

By Donna Dunning

Website Inquiry

What is the best way to introduce personality type and learning strategies?

Hi Dr. Dunning, I am very interested in MBTI with regards to learning strategies. In one of your blog posts, you categorize learners into ST, SF, NT, and NF – and give advice for each type, whereas in your book, you group the types differently (by leading cognitive function) – for example, ISFP with INFP (same leading function of IF). Which is a better model, in your opinion? Or what are the pluses and minuses of each way of organizing learners?

My Answer

There are a number of ways you can use personality type concepts in learning. It all depends on what purpose you have and the level of detail you want to look at.

Here are a few type “lenses” that are helpful when learning about learning.

Individual pairs (E/I, S/N, T/F, J/P): These provide a starting point for thinking about the topic. For example, learners who prefer “I” generally like time to think before responding and often prefer individual, one-to-one or small group learning activities. You can study any of the type letters to build an understanding about how you, and others, learn.

Function pairs (ST, SF, NT, NF): These letters relate to how and what information a person tends to focus on (S/N) and how an individual tends to evaluate and process information (T/F). For example, STs usually prefer practical, applied, factual information presented logically and NFs usually prefer conceptual information presented in a friendly, personal way. These pairs integrate information from two preference pairs and are easy to understand as all people are described in four groups. The disadvantage is that the learning style/strategy differences of the four groups are general.

Dominant Functions (There are eight): These cover off 3 of the 4 preferences and also go into type dynamics, so provide a more complete understanding of personality type. For example, Dominant Extraverted Thinking covers two personality types, ESTJ and ENTJ. This lens looks at the most preferred function (Thinking) and how it is used (in the outer world – extraverted). Because it uses E, T, and J preferences in a specific arrangement, the learning style/strategy information is more complete.

Whole type (The 16 types): This is the most complete way to look at learning styles/strategies, as all four preferences as well as type dynamics (how the preferences interact) are included.

Other Combinations: People also split up type differences into other combinations, such as the first two letters (IS, ES, IN, EN) covering off the setting, depth, and pacing people prefer (E/I) and the kind of information people prefer and how they like to process it (S/N). Some people also use temperament groups (SJ, SP, NF, NT) as a way to understand learning preferences.

So… pretty long answer. I’m not sure if you are researching as a student, or a prof looking for how to introduce the ideas, but basically, the differences are related to complexity of the model and to practical applications. For example, if you are teaching, it takes more time to introduce the more complex ideas of dominant functions and whole type, but it leads to a deeper understanding of the material. For learning activities with students, it is more practical to have students break into 2 or 4 groups for exercises, so preference pairs or function pairs may be more helpful.

If you want more information, I have written several relevant blogs, listed under the category learning, on this website.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 at 10:22 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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