Paragon Learning Style Inventory

A Window into Learning Style and Cognitive Preference

© Paragon Educational Consulting 2009













A Self-Help Guide for Student Success Based on Learning Style


Extrovert – Sensate (ES) Version


Success is no accident. Whether what we seek is a sense of inner satisfaction, wealth or academic success, the formula for success is fairly well accepted. There are reasons why some people find more of it than others, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities.


This guide will lead you through a process of self-development. Each stage will build upon the last. As you reflect on the information provided, make note of your insights and the areas that you feel are those most important for you personally. At the back of the packet is a place to write some of your notes as well as your goals for personal development.


This packet will lead you through the following 4 stages:

  1. Self-Understanding (as it relates to cognitive and learning style)
  2. Development of a “Success Psychology”
  3. Cultivating a personal sense of “Purpose.”
  4. Goal Setting


Note: Your success will be much more likely if you are working with your teachers or coaches.[1]


Extrovert Sensate Types


Good at on the spot problem solving. Do not worry-enjoy whatever comes along. Tend to like mechanical things and sports, with friends on the side. Adaptable, tolerant, generally conservative in values. Dislike long explanations. Are best with real things that can be worked, handled, taken apart, or put together.


Outgoing, easygoing, accepting, enjoy everything and make things more fun for others by their enjoyment. Like sports and making things happen. Know what is going on and join in eagerly. Find remembering facts easier than mastering theories. Are best in situations that need sound common sense and practical ability with people as well as with things.



Practical, realistic, matter of fact with a natural head for business and mechanics. Not interested in subjects they see no use for, but can apply themselves when necessary. Like to organize and run activities. May be good administrators, especially if they remember to consider others’ feelings and points of view.



Warm-hearted, talkative, popular, conscientious, born cooperators, active committee members. Need harmony and may be good at creating it. Always doing something nice for someone. Work best with encouragement and praise. Main interest is in things that directly and practically help people’s lives.



Step 1: Self – Understanding

There are many aspects to a human personality. We are all very complex and unique. It is useful to reflect on what makes us who we are, so that we can have a better understanding of why we have certain tendencies, why we relate to some people better than others, and what contributes to our unique view of the world around us. The better we understand ourselves, the more our actions are a product of choice, and less a product of reaction to conditioning and unconsciousness tendencies. We could say that there are 3 general types of mental mechanisms that influence our choices:

  1. Our Cognitive Preferences
B.    Our Unconscious Conditioning
  1. Our Conscious thought process


This section will help you better understand the first of these – your cognitive preferences.

These preferences are also called your learning style, your cognitive style, your personality type, or your temperament type. There are several effective instruments that have been developed for understanding these preferences, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Paragon Learning Style Inventory. If you have not taken the Paragon Learning Style Inventory, contact your teacher or download it from the website: before you continue. You will need your score to take advantage of this developmental process.


There are 4 packets in this series. This packet is designed specifically for those with an ES_ combination. If your PLSI score was one of the following ESTJ, ESFJ, ESFP, ESTP, then you are a person with an (E) Extroverted – (S) Sensate preference. When compared to your peers with other preferences, you will have very different ways of processing information, thinking, and interacting. Knowing your tendencies can be one key to success in school.


Examine the following descriptions in bold. They should recognize your preferences in the lists.


EXTROVERT  (@60% of population)

learns best from doing

is more at ease and confident socially

likes to know how others are doing it

gets energized from socializing

readily volunteers and offers opinions

ideas start from the outside in


INTROVERT  (@40% of population)

likes to watch before doing

prefers working alone or with one other

sets own standards when possible

likes quiet space to work

seems "deep" and hard to understand

ideas start from inside out


SENSATE  (@65% of population)

is more realistic and practical

is more patient and steady

uses his/her experience and common sense

likes routines and order

looks more for what is actual and sensible

lives in the here and now


INTUITIVE  (@35% of population)

is more imaginative and abstract

likes new challenge, works in spurts

trusts what makes sense to her/him

dislikes routine and detail work

looks more for what is possible

lives toward her/his vision of the future



As you examine the preferences of both the Extrovert and the Sensate sides of these 2 dimensions, you can see that your needs and comfort areas are different than many of the other students in your class.


When one puts an Extroverted preference together with a Sensing preference the result is the unique combination, defined by the description – Action-Oriented  Realist. Here is a paragraph describing how a typical ES or Action-Oriented Realist works best in schools. Again, it should sound familiar.


ES's  Action-Oriented Realists  (@40%)


Let me work with my hands and create something practical. Some people may call me a “kinesthetic” learner, but I would rather call myself a “doer.” I like to be part of a team and see practical results from my/our work.  I have a strong need to contribute and be recognized. Don’t just explain how to do something to me, at least show me, and better yet, let me try it out. I learn from doing and then reflecting on what I have done. If you want me to understand an abstraction let me discover it inductively, or I can have a difficult time integrating it into a big picture understanding. Written directions can be really helpful to me. If you expect me to continually sit and listen to a lecture and then do well on a test later, I will likely disappoint you much of the time.



Now examine the chart below. If you are an ESFP or an ESTP, the SP description on the left should give you some additional insight into your natural learning preferences. If you are an ESFJ or ESTJ, the SJ description on the right should be helpful.


Sensing Types

Perceiving Types

Judging Types

SP's  Sensible, Adaptable, Active types  (@33% of the class)


When sensate qualities are combined with perceiver qualities the result is usually someone very tuned in to the here and now.  They like doing and playing today, and not being too worried about tomorrow.  They are the most spontaneous and easy-going.  They like to get involved in new and interesting activities.  School can be boring for the SP, if it is means sitting still and doing all written work, but it can be fun too, because that's often where the action is

SJ's  Sensible, Decision-making types  (@30%of the class)


When sensate qualities are combined with judging qualities the result is usually someone who is very dependable and responsible.  The SJ is very service-oriented and are good "team players".  They most like situations that are spelled-out and well organized.  SJ's like institutions like school, teams, church and family.  They usually don't mind step-by-step work, and they like and do well in school (partly because most teachers are SJ's themselves).



Below are the results of some of the research that has been done in schools, specifically selected for what has been found relating to extroverts and sensates. It is often helpful to know the tendencies that have been demonstrated by others of your type. It can help us know what our natural strong and less strong areas and preferred modes of instruction might be. As we come to better understand our natural tendencies, we can learn to use our strength areas with more challenging tasks, and then over time begin to work on our less developed skills to be more successful at a broader range of tasks.


Extroversion Research

Sensate Research

E =Score high on “Active Experiential” learner scale

E = Low “internal brain arousal”

ES = High involvement in sports

EP = Score high as “kinesthetic” learners

E = Like to share work when they are done

E = Tendency to externalize emotion

S = Tend toward “left hemisphere” brain use

S = Score high in fact retention

ISP = Score high in computer aptitude

ST = Writing tends to “practically explain” the events and chronicle the things that happened

SF = Writing tends to focus on the people involved, creating a story with a beginning, middle and end

S = Feel more comfortable when the teacher is leading the class. Low tolerance for ambiguity


So what?

So I know about my learning style, so what? The answer is that knowing your learning style preference alone is not going to make you necessarily more successful. But it might help you feel like your tendencies, needs and values make a little more sense to you now. So, you should understand your strengths and weaknesses a bit better now. And your teacher has more resources related to your type that will be helpful if you are interested in learning more.


In a nutshell – your ES type is going to like action, and resist too much independent work.  It is important that you value your instinct to get in and take part. Some school contexts may feel confining, so it is important to be patient. Recognize that others can interpret your need to “do” as either a problem influence, or an energizing positive influence. So find positive ways to express your energy. It is good to keep in mind that the way most schools are set up is not typically a good match for your learning style. So you need to be more persistent than other types, and recognize that grades are not the only measure of success.


Step 2 – Developing a Success Psychology

Your learning style is going to be pretty stable over your lifetime. That is, if you are an ES today, you will probably still be an ES in 30 years. But what is important is, will you be a happy, fulfilled, successful, and contented ES? Understanding our style will help, but what determines ones’ success will their values, attitudes and choices.


Earlier we talked about 3 things that influence our choices – 1) our cognitive or learning style, 2) our unconscious thoughts and 3) our conscious thoughts. You can’t do much to change the first one, but you can do a lot to change the second. And only you can make choices for yourself. So why would you want to change what is going on in your unconscious mind (also called your mental conditioning)? The answer is that it will make all the difference in whether you are happy or unhappy, achieving or not, and bringing positive circumstances into your life or not. In other words, we could say that at any time our unconscious mind is operating from either a success or a failure psychology.


Defining the Success Psychology

What makes someone oriented to success, achievement and high self-esteem is not a an accident or a mystery. Research tells us that people with the following 3 traits are more successful in schools and in life.


In this section we will use our knowledge of our cognitive type to help us best develop these 3 areas of thinking.


A Three Factor Operational Definition of SUCCESS PSYCHOLOGY


Our self-concept (and so tangentially our psychology of achievement) is very dependent on factors within our environment.   It is formed as a result of our years of experiences (especially the early ones).  It could be said that one’s eyes and ears record the messages they receive from others, especially those most important to them.  Because one’s unconscious accepts all words and emotions as facts, no matter how legitimate or based in reality, one’s psychological orientation to trying and achieving is being continuously constructed and reconstructed by what is encountered in the mirror of others verbal and non-verbal messages


Research into academic achievement produces three factors that strongly correlate with achievement, a success-orientation and self-esteem.  Each of the factors/components outlined below is separate but interrelated.  In the attempt to better understand and/or promote success in oneself and others, addressing these three components can help clarify our efforts.


INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL: This factor is defined by one’s sense of internal causality and orientation toward personal responsibility.  The more internal LOC the more we feel like our destiny is in our own hands. It could be contrasted to seeing life as a series of accidents or “things that happen to us.”

It comes from: recognizing that our actions result in consequences, seeing cause and effect relationships related to success and failure, being given freedom, power and control with an expectation of using them responsibly.


SENSE OF BELONGING AND ACCEPTANCE: This factor reflects how much one feels wanted and a part of the group, and how much one likes and accepts them self as they are.  The more one feels accepted and acceptable, the more they are able to express themselves, act authentically and be fully present to others.  Self- acceptance could be contrasted to self-aggrandizement or a compulsion to please.

It comes from: accepting messages from VIPs (including self-talk), practicing a positive approach and attitude, experiencing emotional safety, and feeling a part of a community.


Growth vs. Fixed Ability Orientation: This factor relates to one’s thinking related to the root of their competence.  Everyone needs to feel competent and confident, but if it is perceived as coming from “how good we are” at a task (related to innate ability), then we tend to give up quickly and protect our egos in the face of failure.  If our confidence is rooted in our experience in persist to find solutions, enjoying the learning process, and approaching a task with the desire to overcome challenges, we will tend to grow and achieve more.  In this orientation intelligence is something that can be improved not innate.  This dynamic is at the root of a person being basically either success-seeking or failure-avoiding.

It comes from: having learning goals vs. performance goals, getting recognition or criticism for our efforts and not for our abilities, taking learning risks that pay off, and VIPs communicating an incremental vs. fixed view of intelligence and ability.

Developing a Success Psychology

To develop a success psychology you will need to work hand in hand with your teachers. They have been given ideas to help promote these skills in your class. But in this section let’s explore what we can do on our own to promote these mental patterns within our thinking.


Locus of Control:

The most predictive trait that successful people have is an understanding of the cause and effect relationship between their thinking and the quality of their life. In essence, successful people take responsibility to “make it happen.” Here are some self-statements that will help you develop this trait:

I alone am responsible for my success.

I understand that my thoughts will lead to actions, which will lead to how my life turns out, so I take my thoughts seriously, and try to think positively.

There are few accidents in life, I recognize that events have causes and everything is connected.


Those with an ES combination tend to be very focused on what is going on around them. This can be an asset in social terms, but it can also lead to a tendency to externalize your causality. That is, you might view the reason for the way things are as coming from what others are doing, or have done. The ESJ combination tends to be very responsible and team oriented. The ESP combination tends to be very present moment oriented. This is a blessing in many ways, but under stress the ESP can tend to make decisions based on faulty cause and effect reasoning. The self-statements above are especially important to keep in mind under stress.


Acceptance and Belonging:

If one does not feel a sense of self-acceptance and a feeling of belonging to a group (family, team, club, friends, class) then it leads to depression, low-self esteem, low motivation, and/or seeking love in unhealthy places.  If you do not learn to love yourself, no one else will. Here are some self-statements that will help you develop this trait:

I accept and love myself for who I am.

I accept and show care for others first, before I look for others acceptance of me.

I allow myself to be loved and accepted as part of “healthy” groups


Given the ES’s natural social skills, they typically have little trouble making friends and being accepted as a part of groups. So they have few of the problems of their introvert classmates in those areas. The ESF combination tends to be naturally concerned with the welfare of others, so are generally well liked, but be careful not to become too consumed with the perceptions of others, it can lead to worry and self-doubt. The EST combination is quick and verbal, but can tend to be reactive and rebellious when they perceive they are being threatened. The ES should look to stay grounded in self-acceptance and they will be much more content in this area.


Mastery Orientation:

What keeps most people from success in life, is a “fear of failure” mentality. Examine the 2 orientations outlined on the previous page, and on the last page of this packet, describing the research of Carol Dweck. It is easy to take on a fixed view of our abilities and overtime fall into a helpless (fear of failure) pattern. But those who use that mentality will be both less happy and less successful. Learn to enjoy the challenge of the new or difficult situation, and focus your energy into the process and products will work out. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Learn to enjoy the feeling of overcoming your doubts, insecurities and fears. Success will come from your attitude much more than your current ability level.


I trust that if I do a good job with the process good results will happen.

I will persist in the face of difficulty, I enjoy the challenge and do not fear failure. I never quit.

I am not my past grades, scores, or outcomes, I am getting better and growing every day.

I will not put limits on myself or let others do so.


ES types, because they look outward for their sources of information, can tend to focus more on end results than the process along the way. This is true especially if the process takes a long time and involves a lot of complexity. Again, this is an area where the ES needs to test their patience. The ES tends to be a relatively confident type, but they need to be careful to identify ability as coming from their effort and investment in the learning process, and not from the judgment of others. The ES can also be very competitive. Be careful that you do not let your competitiveness turn into a fear of failure or a need to win for self-esteem. Think about how you act and feel when you are confident and secure, try to use that mindset in all situations.


Step 3 – Tapping into a sense of Purpose

When one has a sense of purpose, his or her work is more focused, inspired, and meaningful. Developing a success psychology will lead to a more effective, enjoyable, and productive life, but adding a clearer sense of purpose will help you ground your success in things that you really care about.


Ask yourself what you really love to do. Where do your gifts lie? Learning to translate your gifts into benefit for others is the key to being happy, and will lead to prosperity if it is sincere.


To help clarify your purpose, it is a useful to perform the following exercise. First just write down some things that you like to do, things that you are good at, and ways you like to help others. Second, try to reduce all those things to a paragraph. And then see if you can reduce it to just a sentence or two. Use that sentence or two as a guide. It is likely that understanding your learning preferences will help you better recognize your gifts, but don’t feel limited by them.


Here is a chart depicting the career choices that have been made by some others with your learning style preferences. It should not limit, your thinking related to what you want to devote your life to, but it may be of interest.





Skilled Trades


Law Enforcement

Applied Technology



Or any other occupations where they can use their “doer” nature to find technical solutions and make sure practical work is carried out successfully.


Health Care


Skilled Trades


Public Relations



Or any other occupations where they can use their outgoing nature and people skills to help people with their practical needs.




Law Enforcement



Or any other occupations where they can use their organizational and leadership skills to help others execute the task in the most efficient manner.



Health Care




Or any other occupations where they can use their instinct for teaching and care for others with a primary focus on practical needs and creating harmonious organizations. 






Things that struck me about my LEARNING STYLE preferences that I want to remember.









Things I want to do to improve my INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL











Things I want to do to improve my sense of ACCEPTANCE AND BELONGING














Things I want to do to use less of a helpless pattern and more of a MASTERY PATTERN












Notes to myself – ideas that I want to remember when I sit down to develop my PERSONAL PURPOSE STATEMENT.







Appendix – In-depth Explanation of variable 3 – the Mastery-Orientation

Carol Dweck in her research over the course of 20 years has developed a very useful paradigm with which to examine academic self-concept, achievement, and motivation.  She shows very clearly that future success is not so much the result of talent or current level of achievement, but as a result of the orientation/tools one uses to approach learning tasks.


Two types of Students (and views of ability/intelligence):

Fixed ability/intelligence theory: These students seek to look smart and avoid looking dumb.  Their highest desire is to accomplish tasks successfully and prove their ability to others.  So they seek tasks that will make them look good to others and maintain their conception of themselves as high ability.


Growth theory: These students see satisfaction coming from immersion in the process of learning.  Every opportunity to learn or try is an opportunity to get better.  They do not focus on what the outcome will say about them, but what they can attain from taking part in the venture.


Two corresponding reactions to failure:

Helpless Pattern: When confronted by failure, students with a fixed ability orientation dealt with it by assuming there was nothing they could do further.  Their ability was not enough to overcome the difficulty of the tasks and so they felt helpless.  After failure, they quickly began to put down their ability/intelligence and perceived the whole of their effort as disproportionately unsuccessful.


Growth Pattern: Students with an incremental/process orientation, when faced with a failure condition, immediately began to consider the various ways that they could approach the task differently.  They used self-instruction to motivate and guide themselves through the challenging task.


How each type of pattern is conditioned

Helpless Pattern

Growth Pattern

Being given performance goals (i.e., goals related to measuring the ability of the participant.

Being given learning goals (i.e., goals related to how much one is going to learn)

Focus on ends/products

Focus on means/processes

Being given praise and feedback related to how good at the task or intelligent one is.

Being given operational feedback related to process aspects of the task.

Focus on ability/intelligence

Focus on effort and application

Promote stereotypical beliefs about various groups typical ability/intelligence.

Challenge stereotypical beliefs about various groups typical ability/intelligence.

Develop a failure psychology

·         External locus of control

·         Individuality and competition

·         Worth is related to ability level

Develop a success psychology

·         Internal locus of control

·         Belonging and Acceptance

·         Use personal standards to judge success


Over time those with a growth pattern showed a higher level of success in school, and a lower incidence of falling into a fear of failure.

[1] All teachers have been provided  “Developing a Success Psychology” and “How to Succeed with Students of Differing Learning Styles.”