Catering for different types of learners
Students with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, find it easier to take in information when it is presented globally. This matches their strength of seeing the big picture. In this section we look at techniques that cater for the global learner and the analytical learner in the classroom.
Global learners need an overview of a topic first and tend to get frustrated with fine detail.
Analytical learners love details, facts and figures. They like to organise the process.
Global and Analytical Learners
(Big picture or holistic and sequential learners)
Global learners need the big picture. They like to see where concepts interrelate with other concepts and how it all applies to them using mental pictures, similes or analogies. These learners need an overview of a topic first and tend to get frustrated with fine detail. They are good at multi-tasking and like to know the theme and purpose of a lesson first.
An analytical learner is able to process the details independently from each other. This learner loves details, facts and figures. They like to organise the process.
- Need all the information before beginning
- Want to know all the steps involved
- Like to know what the finished product will be like
- Need to know where the information fits into their own life
- “Thinking about thinking”
- Good at evaluating and breaking down information
- Might not raise their hand much to answer questions, because it takes them longer to sort out the answer – fitting the concepts together and into their own personal settings to get an understanding
- An answer therefore is much more thorough
- They can tend to miss small detail
- Spend so much time thinking they react late
- Prefers working in groups
- Prefers open ended questions
- Tend to learn in large jumps, absorbing material almost randomly without seeing connections, and then suddenly “getting it.”
- May be able to solve complex problems quickly or put things together in novel ways once they have grasped the big picture, but they may have difficulty explaining how they did it.
- Like small chunks
- Love facts and figures
- Like to know all the fine details
- Self evaluate
- Like step by step
- Take a more logical approach
- Are disciplined and detail oriented
- Important to encourage them to direct them towards the goal
- Providing lists, charts and timelines are helpful
- Appreciate a well structured learning environment
- Prefers working alone
- Tend to gain understanding in linear steps, with each step following logically from the previous one.
In the classroom
To accommodate these two styles, incorporate an explanation in the beginning of your course that describes the desired final outcomes of the course and then do the same for each class. This gives the Global learner a sense of the vision, the whole picture. Then proceed to list or show in a chart or graph the steps that will be taken to achieve that outcome. Do this as well at the beginning of each class. This will help the Analytical learner in knowing the steps that will need to be taken.
At the end of your class, list the steps or material you have covered and again describe the whole picture that you have, by then, arrived at.
A variety of activities can be offered, both done in groups and individually. When working in groups the expectations of the work that is to be done in the group needs to be well defined. Perhaps even providing a list of tasks or questions to be answered will be helpful. Roles for the students in each group can also be defined. This will allow the Analytical learner to benefit from this work as well.