Learning Styles: The Analytic Learner

Who is the Analytic Learner?

Learning is a multi-faceted process and the student who knows how to use all learning styles will gain a deeper knowledge. However, while the analytic learner can appear to be the “perfect student,” like all styles, they have strengths and weaknesses. Praise God that He has made us able to learn in multiple ways!

Dynamic Learners have many strengths that can make school a successful experience. They are part-to-whole, sequential thinkers who are intrinsically motivated by organization, learning, and grades. They are self-motivated measurers and planners who need to know the expectations and can be the best workers with the highest class averages. They are also rule-followers with high expectations that everyone will live by the rules.

They thrive with knowledgeable teachers who maintain a positive, controlled classroom environment and present materials in declarative ways. In this type of environment, analytic learners thrive because they see the “big picture” and can break final products down to individual steps.

Particularly in the younger grades, school can feel very positive to the analytic learner. They typically have strong executive skills, including self-regulation, can independently complete and submit their work, and have strong motivation to please the teacher and earn recognition. Because they can plan easily, they often rise to leadership in classes or organizations. Even in junior high, they do not struggle as much with weak self-regulation that is typical during these years.

While the characteristics listed above can be driving forces that impel analytic learners toward top grades, there can also be some struggles for these learners.

First, they measure themselves, and others, from the “top down,” which means they more consistently identify what they haven’t accomplished than what they have accomplished. If allowed to turn into perfectionism, this can make school stressful and lead to performance anxiety. There may also be the assumption that others measure them in the same way, leading to social stress and low confidence, particularly in the years of adolescence.

Second, these learners can prefer extrinsic recognition and be more prone to a fixed mindset (i.e., because I am not confident in that, I am not going to attempt it) or a striving for grades rather than learning. They prefer to feel in control; consequently, frustration can build when they perceive inconsistencies such as when a test is not given on the day that is posted, when there seems to be “unfairness” in the class, and when expectations are not understood.

Finally, in adolescence, particularly, they can feel conflicted, not wanting to join behavior that is inconsistent with rules and expectations, but feeling left out if they don’t.

Supporting the Analytic Learner

Because analytic learners already measure what they haven’t accomplished, it is important to give feedback that helps them see what they have accomplished.

Helping these learners feel successful in school can include:

  • Challenging them to “think out-of-the-box” with “gray areas”
  • Encouraging them to celebrate their successes (big and small)
  • Providing feedback that includes accomplishments and suggested next steps in learning
  • Helping them be patient with others, understanding that:
    • Analytics make up 25% of God’s creation
    • Not all learners are intrinsically motivated by grades, checklists or affirmation
    • In fact, there is another 25% of learners who consider rules to be only suggestions.