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Annie Qureshi



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Learning Styles of Different Myers Briggs Types


During my time in the workforce, I noticed that few companies tailor their training to individual employees. Many organizational strategists recognize the flaws with this approach, because every employee's personality type and learning style is different. This mistake is particularly common in the business world. Two-thirds of business school students score highly on levels of extroversion, so they may have difficulty relating to introverted employees and creating learning models that suit their needs. Managers need to understand the different Myers-Briggs personality types and develop training strategies around them.

Overview of personality types

The Myers-Briggs personality model categorizes individuals according to four different personality dichotomies. Christina Lattimer already wrote a great resource on them, but here is a quick overview:

Extroversion versus introversion. Contrary to popular believe, this does not measure levels of outgoingness or reclusiveness. People that score high on levels of introversion are likely to focus on their own inner world. People that fall on the extroversion side of the continuum place greater emphasis on their external environment. While there is a correlation between high levels of extraversion and outgoingness, the two do not always go hand-in-hand.

Intuition versus sensing. People that score high on levels of intuition view the world through a very broad perspective and categorize their observations. Individuals that score high on the sensing spectrum tend to focus on minute details.

Feeling versus thinking. Individuals that rate highly on feeling make judgments and decisions based on emotions, while people with a thinking preference make decisions based on logic.

Judging versus perceiving. People with the perceiving preference tend to prefer a non-rigid decision-making style, while those that prefer a judging style require a lot more structure.

Since these personality traits play a vital role in any individual's decision-making style, they also influence the way they learn. Here are some guidelines for structuring learning styles around some of the most popular personality types.

ESTJ. People with the ESTJ personality type prefer learning with real-life examples that are communicated in a direct, easy to follow way.

ENTP. ENTP individuals prefer taking multi-dimensional approaches to learning. They get bored easily with highly structured regimens, but thrive while learning independently. Unlike ST types, they thrive when information is presented in a complex way.

INFJ. People with the INFJ personality type are focused on the betterment of humanity. In order to encourage them to learn new skills, you need to demonstrate how the skill at hand will benefit society.

ISFP. Individuals with the ISFP personality type learn more easily when information is presented directly in a very structured way. While they can learn independently like an ENTP, it's hard for them to stay focused and make their own judgment calls. They prefer a more rigid learning environment.

ISTP. People with the ISTP personality type mirror their INFJ counterparts in that they have a goal driven perspective. However, while the INFJ types are interested in benefiting people, the ISTP individuals are motivated by learning how things work. They easily process information that is presented in a straightforward way, typically using real-life examples. The most meaningful difference between ISTP and ESTP and ESTJ personality types is their preference for learning independently. They can work in groups if necessary, but it's best to develop a system where they can learn independently if possible.

Managers and instructors often make assumptions about the personality types of their students. For example, people learn the universal coding system are more likely to be ISTP and ISTJ personality types. They may have a standard approach to teaching people with these personality types. However, they may need to customize the curriculum for employees that fall outside these categories.

Building Learning Models Around Personality Types

It is important to try to understand the personality types of all employees in your organization. Many human resources departments administer Myers-Briggs personality tests during the hiring process, but the information is rarely used.

Managers should request this information if it available, so they can use it to create the right learning model for each employee. Of course, there are many nuances with personality inventories and many employees can’t be easily categorized into one type. Managers need to improvise and try to create a learning model that is right for each individual.

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