A Window into Learning Style and Cognitive Preference

Paragon Learning Style Inventory

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Q. What does my score mean?

A. The score you just obtained from taking the Paragon Learning Style Inventory (i.e., ESFJ, INFP or INTP, etc.) is a measure of some of your cognitive and perceptual preferences. There are 16 learning types possible. All the 16 type are well represented in our society. All are valuable and capable, they are just different in a few fundamental ways.

Q. How did this test get developed?

A. It began with Carl Jung's theories of personality from the 1940's and evolved through the research of Isabell Briggs-Myers and was developed by John Shindler into the PLSI in 1992. more about this.

Q. Will I always be this type?

A. Experts disagree, but your learning type should be pretty stable. Most people do not change very much in their lifetime. If you are very young, this kind of test is a bit less reliable, after 25 there should be really no change. But remember a test like the PLSI is only getting at what is inside you and if you are not honest or if you "head is in a funny place" it will make your score less of a reliable indicator of your inner type.

Q. What do I do now that I have a four letter type?

A. It is hoped that just knowing your type is helpful in understanding yourself. And it may help you see how you are different from others. You may find that some people are harder to understand than others you meet. This usually has something to do with your learning style (also called type in the MBTI). Look at the pages on this site that might help you understand how your learning type most prefers to learn and interact with others.

Q. What are the four dimensions? and what do they mean?

A. The four dimensions seem to be areas where human beings differ in very fundamental ways or in what could be considered traits. This means these traits are something like left handedness and right handedness. We do not really learn to be one or the other, but most people are just dominant with one hand or the other and not usually both. And while we use both hands everyday, when we need to feel secure we tend to use our preferred hand. This is the same with each of the four dimensions. We use them both, but we usually choose our dominant preference when we need to feel comfortable.

Introversion and extroversion are ways of orienting ourselves to ideas and people. Extroverts merge easily with the outerworld and/or people and external reality and introverts are more inner-centered. Extroverts work more outside in and introverts work more inside out.

The dimension of Sensation and/or Intuition (also called Practicals and Abstracts by Kolb) is a way of making sense of ideas. Sensates see ideas more as part of physical reality and connected to what is. Intuitives see ideas as a world in and of themselves and see ideas as just as real as things. This area has much to do with preferences in communication, where Sensates often prefer to talk about what is, and Intuitives more often talk about what is perceived and interpreted.

The dimension of Thinking and Feeling deals with one's orientation to making decisions. Thinkers tend to make decisions based on logic and ideas whereas Feelers tend to make decisions more based on relation to people and how their actions affect others, especially their feelings.

The dimension of judgment and perception (also called Sequentials or Randoms by Gregorc) deals with how one is oriented to the outer world. They use their other preferences to approach their thoughts and actions. Perceivers are very attuned to incoming information and Judgers are very comfortable making judgments and decisions about things. This dimension is very influential in one's orientation to time and physical order.
bulletbrief descriptions of the 16 learning styles
bulletdimensions that most affect learning
bulletlook at the 4 dimensional dualities
Also, you may want to begin to read more about your learning type. This site has some basics and will have more information as time goes on but you may want to look at some books and writings about learning style and type.

Q. Should this affect who my friends are?

A. It probably already has. Most of us are attracted to people who are like us because they think like us, and what they say makes sense to us. Those people give us a sense of comfort and validation. But almost as often we are attracted to people who are in many areas our opposite. This is because opposite types are interesting to us and exciting to be around because we can feel the contrast. Often this contrast is useful because opposite types can compliment one another and often get a job done more effectively than a group of similar types.

Q. Are there better types to be?

A. Absolutely not! all the learning types are absolutely critical to make the world function. But certain types are better at some things. Our preferences and styles affect how we work and what we like to do. Learning type is often used to help people find jobs that are best suited to their abilities. For example most artists are Intuitives (N), and are more often feelers (F) and introverts(I). Most engineers are sensates (S) and thinkers (T). Most teachers are feelers (F) and judgers (J) and often SJ's (sensate judgers). Most scientists are NT's (intuitive-thinkers).

Q. What should I do with this knowledge when I go back to school?

A. It is usually very helpful understanding how you learn. If your teacher is similar to you, your class will likely seem to work well. If your teacher is different form you, you may want to keep that fact in mind when you are frustrated. Here are some ways difference can be experienced in school and what to do about it.
Don't understand Directions. Sometimes S teachers give directions without explaining how the task fits into the big picture. Sometimes N teachers give a lot of explanation but leave out what the students are supposed to do in practical terms. Sometimes P teachers do not give a lot of structure in their directions Don't be afraid to ask your teacher to explain what they meant. Do not just assume you are a bad listener. If you need clarification about what is expected ask for it. You may want to ask nicely "Ms/Mr. X could you explain the direction in sensate language (or intuitive) for me please?"
Writing differences. Sometimes teachers are not aware that they like and give better grades to students who are like them because they like their writing style better. This is true of all types.

 

As with most areas, there are 2 main solutions to this. First, get a clear set of guidelines from your teacher- what should go in a "good paper." Second, if you think you wrote a piece in a style you liked and it was mechanically good, and your teacher doesn't seem to understand you, remind them of your type in a nice tone of voice.
Working conditions are not your style. If your teacher is an IS-J they may like things very quite and rely a lot of independent work. The EN's may have a hard time showing what they know and sitting still and not talking. If the teacher is an EN_P they may have a class that is so active and open-ended that some students especially the IS-J's may be uncomfortable. It is good to work to your weaknesses some some adaptation is good for you. But this is a tough area to try to fix. It is best to be honest and share that you are uncomfortable and do your best. But for teachers- those who teach in a variety of style and allow for differing style and modalities will have much more student satisfaction.
 

 

::Dr. John Shindler's Web::Dr. Harrison Yang's Web:: Western Alliance for the Study of School Climate::

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Last Update: October 25, 2004