Have you ever thought about how your personality influences the way you learn? Well that’s a big piece of what we try to help you work through here at the Think Center, but here’s a couple of tips for how ONE piece of your personality can inform how you study.
Extraversion vs. Introversion. Forget what you think you know about these words, but consider instead where you get energy and focus your attention. Do you tend to think out loud, like to bounce ideas off of other people, and get your “second wind” after a long day by being with people or doing something external (exercising, cooking, gardening, etc.)? Or do you prefer to kind of process in your head before you talk through something, to reflect first, and regain energy at the end of a long day by being more internal – chilling out, reading, preferably not having to interact though you may not mind other people being around? If you relate more to the first description, you are likely an extravert, if the second – you’re likely an introvert.
Why does this matter? Well, here are some learning strategies to consider for each.
- Make an effort to control for distractions and interruptions
- If possible, give yourself time to think about material or content before responding
- Find a private setting to practice well thought out ideas
- Look for one-on-one opportunities for feedback or assistance
- Give yourself time to access and reflect on material
- If needed, get information in advance or prepare for class early so that participation won’t be as stressful
- Remember that you might need to let other people know that you’re engaged in activities…sometimes you may appear disinterested even if that’s not the case
- Sometimes material “clicks” when you give yourself time to process it independently and internally
- Look for opportunities to ask and answer questions
- Look for opportunities to “practice” what you’re learning
- Change topics frequently, if needed (you don’t have to study ONE subject for 4 hours at a time. Switch it up, you may find you can focus better)
- Like to process information externally – talk it out.
- Can be frustrated in situations when they can’t ask questions for think out loud, so try to make opportunities to do this if it’s not conducive to it within the class itself
- Likes variety in learning activities (make them yourself if you need to!)
- Likes to be social in learning process (study groups, anyone? But on-task ones!)
- Read aloud if it helps
These are just a few suggestions that take ONE part of your personality into account, but try to be deliberate about these things and you may find they make a big difference. To go deeper, you can fill out the personality type inventory and come in and find out more about your type by going here.