Educators have observed a strong relationship between learning styles and personality types of learners. The basic insight is that the personality type of the learner determines the learning process.
Carl Jung, the Swiss pychiatrist and psychoanalyst, originally proposed the foundational theory of psychological types. Drawing largely from Jung’s theory, Isabel Briggs Myers (daughter) and Catherine Briggs (mother) developed subsequently the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
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The application of the MBTI as an instrument has led to several insightful studies in the field of education. The findings of these studies authenticate that personality does affect the style not only of learning but also of teaching.
We believe that the behavior of every person seems to be idiosyncratic, vastly different from that of every other. Jung’s theory proposes that the converse is true: a clear order and pattern underlie such seemingly arbitrary variations in behavior.
People can indeed be categorized into a certain number of psychological types based on three sets of their preferences of bipolar behavioral oppositions. They are the following:
1 Extroversion (E) v. Introversion (I)
You may choose to concentrate on the outer world around you, or you may zoom in on your own inner world. If your preference is the former, you are an extrovert; if it is the latter, you are an introvert.
2 Sensing (S) v. Intuition (N)
Your preference may be to receive the basic information as it is, or you may examine the information received and look for an insight. The former is sensing and the latter, intuition.
3 Thinking (T) v. Feeling (F)
In matters of decisions, your preference may be to focus first on the underlying logic and coherence, or to study first the people and specific circumstances given. This opposition is labeled Thinking or Feeling.
4 Judging (J) v. Perceiving (P)
Jung proposed further that one of the functions above is dominant – maybe a function of judging or of perception. Briggs-Myers considered this relationship a fourth opposition that influences personality type.
Arriving at personality types
It is possible to arrive at sixteen different personality types by permuting the preferences in the four sets of oppositions given above. Each of the sixteen personality types can be identified with an acronym of four letters that correspond to the combination of preferences.
For example, Introversion + Intuition + Feeling + Judging give rise to the personality type INFJ; ESTP indicates the type Exroversion + Sensing + Thinking + Perceiving, and so on.
Personality types and learning styles
The application of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in the field of education has enabled a much better understanding of why there are diverse teaching and learning styles.
The findings of several original research studies with the help of the MBTI instrument on college and school students have led to much better teacher-learner communication, and much enhanced quality learning.
Online educators have greater awareness of the individual learning styles and demands of online learners. They do cater to the specific needs of the students.
Students on their part do not have to be concerned about the differences they find among themselves, as far as their individual learning styles and the outcomes at a point are concerned.
With a heartening understanding of the personality type, a learner can have greater motivation, follow helpful learning strategies and achieve satisfying performance levels.
In the past decade, e-learning opportunities have grown exponentially, particularly in the field of early childhood education, thanks to the concept of personality types.