Analytical Learning Styles

By Hannah Wahlig
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A person's learning style refers to his preferences for receiving, organizing and understanding information. Analytical learners are sometimes referred to as sequential learners because of their preference for organized, orderly information. Identifying the needs of analytical learners is one way a teacher or parent can assist a learner to develop the types of study habits that best suit his personal preferences.

Anthony Gregorc's Model of Learning Styles

Several educational theorists have proposed models for categorizing learning styles, but it was Anthony Gregorc and Kathleen Butler who popularized the notion of analytical learning. Gregorc's model focuses on a learner's preferred method of perceiving incoming information. Sequential or analytical learners, he argued, prefer to receive information they perceive is ordered, organized and linear, as opposed to random-order thinkers who prefer information that provides a global perspective that they can later break into parts or chunks. Analytical learners are therefore more often considered logical thinkers due to their preference for sequential order.

Traits of Analytic Learners

Analytic learners are best able to understand new information if it is presented in a linear, step-by-step way. They are more likely to benefit from detailed, clear instructions that offer them a method for carrying out a task to completion. Analytic learners are also more likely to create sequential methods of organizing tasks or information for themselves. For instance, they might request a checklist of after-school chores and activities to help them stay focused. They prefer to work in quiet, clean environments for studying. They are also more likely than other types of learners to defend their arguments or positions with appeals to logic or common sense.

Challenges for Analytical Learners

Analytical learners may get distracted by details that other types of learners see as inconsequential. Students may ask for more detailed instructions on assignments, such as exact proper formatting or the preferred type of writing utensil. Although analytical learners are often able complete tasks if there are step-by-step instructions, they may not fully understand the meaning of the whole task. Analytical learners can be easily distracted if their learning environment is cluttered or loud. Analytical learners might also become easily frustrated if they can't immediately understand new information or if the people they are working with are struggling to understand.

Classroom Accommodations

Providing accommodations for analytical learners involves offering clear instructions and an organized learning environment. If you are providing instructions for a task, offer a written document with numbered steps detailing the most efficient way to complete the job. As learners become more independent, you might opt to encourage them to create their own outlines for completing their assignments. Encourage analytic learners to use a highlighter or pen to mark important information in their texts so they can focus and organize large key points. Challenge analytical learners by encouraging them to try to move forward if they get stuck on a distracting detail in their work; assure them that they may be able to figure it out by moving forward.

About the Author

Hannah Wahlig began writing and editing professionally in 2001. Her experience includes copy for newspapers, journals and magazines, as well as book editing. She is also a certified lactation counselor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Holyoke College, and Master's degrees in education and community psychology from the University of Massachusetts.