Regardless of your career or field, you are probably familiar with the experience of spending long hours poring over training manuals or textbooks, staring at a computer screen, or taking notes in a training workshop, trying in vain to absorb every bit of information possible. You’ve probably tried different “study techniques” – timing your coffee breaks, or only studying for a certain amount of time. So why isn’t anything working?
The answer is surprisingly simple: As Hirsh & Hirsh (2007) observe, different people have different Myers-Briggs® Personality Types (MBTI®) and different MBTI Types have proclivities for different learning styles and effective study methods. Learning more about your MBTI Type and your learning style can help you personalize your routine and develop study strategies that will help you process more information more efficiently. In this post, we focus on Myers-Briggs ISFJ Personality Types (Introverted-Sensing-Feeling-Judging Types).
Myers-Briggs ISFJ Types are incredibly detail-oriented, and are able to recall large amounts of facts with ease. They integrate new information to which they are exposed with past experience, and knowledge, making it easier for them to make connections between seemingly unrelated content. It is extremely important for ISFJs to have the opportunity to make these connections, both in and out of the classroom. Otherwise, they may be left with the feeling of “wanting more” or feeling like they haven’t adequately mastered the material at hand.
Structured classroom settings, in which courses have set objectives and instructions, can help ISFJs make these connections. They prefer information to be presented logically and linearly, and also appreciate having the time to process new information before being expected to apply it, for instance in class discussions or group activities. This doesn’t necessarily mean that presentation and application of content can’t be done on the same day or even in the same session, but it may be helpful to build in a few minutes of quiet study time or reflection, in order to give ISFJs the processing time they need. These preferences also apply to instructors—ISFJs prefer instructors who are repositories of information, and who are able to present that information in an organized, linear manner. They dislike surprises, and appreciate being able to review information before class in order to prepare for discussions and activities independently.
Myers-Briggs ISFJ Types’ preference for working and processing information independently also manifests in their interactions with other learners. While they understand the benefits of group work at times, they dislike being paired with learners who get easily distracted, or who have difficulty narrowly focusing on the task at hand. They tend to put successful completion of their assignments before building relationships, which can, at times, make other learners feel disrespected or undervalued. On the upside, ISFJs tend to take feedback fairly well, and benefit most from direct, specific corrective feedback given frankly. They find it difficult to integrate vague or general feedback into making specific improvements or corrections to their understanding or behavior.
Naturally, individual preference facets may vary even within personality types. If you’re an ISFJ, feel free to experiment with your learning style and environment. There’s no right or wrong way to learn, though attempting to use a process that correlates to your personality type can provide you with a better chance at learning both more effectively and efficiently.
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Ever wanted to know why you act or react a certain way? Wondered what career you would fit best in? Wished to discover how your mind works? A Myers-Briggs® (MBTI®) Profile can start you on the path to answers by mapping out your personality into different categories, allowing you to explore the motives behind your decisions, thoughts, and actions. See the benefits when you take the Myers-Briggs test online.
Introduction To Type and Learning. (Dunning, D, 2008. CPP)
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