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Learning Style

Learning is discovering that something is possible.
                                 -Fritz Perls

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INFJs find learning most rewarding when it is focused on personal growth and sustaining a vision.  They like the type of learning that helps others explore issues and bridge differences, as well as learning that connects people.  They really want their learning to help them live their idealistic life, so it must include practical problem solving to be really valuable.  INFJs honor the gifts of others and love to learn what they can do to help them develop those gifts.  If what INFJs are learning helps them take a creative approach to life and live with a greater sense of purpose, so much the better.

Quick Guide to the 16 Personality Types in Organizations,
Dr. Linda Berens

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Also from Linda Berens:

These are the elements that most encourage a Catalyst to learn:

  • Relationship Centered

  • Growth

  • Significance to People & Purpose

  • Interconnection

  • Ethics & Morality

  • Identity & Authenticity

  • Meaningful Results & Personal Feedback

  • Personal & Inspiring

  • Benevolent & Supportive

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As a Compassionate Visionary [INFJ] Learner, I

  • Enjoy ideas and the interchange of ideas

  • Prefer a supportive and personal learning environment

  • See many ways to apply ideas

  • Synthesize and connect ideas alone, in quiet time, after ideas have been presented

  • Am intense and seek challenges

  • Am not interested in regurgitating facts and details

  • Need teachers to be genuine and approachable

  • Like to develop a personal connection to the learning and the teacher

  • Enjoy having a mentor, coach, or guide

  • Bring high expectations to the learning situation

  • Am conscientious and determined

  • Seek opportunities to apply concepts and ideas in new ways in the world around me

  • Dislike disorder

  • Like learning to occur in an organized and focused way

What's Your Type of Career?: Unlock the Secrets of Your Personality to Find Your Perfect Career Path by Donna Dunning

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From the Virginia Military Institute:


  • May be linear or global learner

  • Prefers theory before application

  • Works and studies well alone

  • Prefers flexible day-to-day instruction

  • Prefers to work alone

  • Likes reading and quiet reflection

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From Glendale City College:

INFJ types are often quietly creative. Usually well-prepared when approaching any situation, they also seek to bring an original flair to their work, either artistic, poetic, or imaginative in some way. They have a deep faith in their inner vision of human potential.

Choosing a Major

  • Usually decide after careful research, but often trust an inner vision

  • Tend to seek work were they can quietly aid in the personal development of people, including their colleagues

  • Found frequently in fields such as teaching, counseling, ministry, science, research, training and/or development

Learning Style

  • Tend to focus on theory and underlying meaning

  • Independent and willing to challenge authorities, even their professors

  • Learn best when they study alone, with quiet for concentration

  • Prefer to express creative ideas in writing

  • Want instructors who arouse enthusiasm for learning

Reading, Writing, Studying

  • Prefer quiet for study and concentration

  • Do well academically because of good time management and organization

  • Report no non-required reading per week; they do so much required reading

  • Best writing will be done when they can freely express their strong convictions

  • Need to revise final drafts by fitting original ideas to the instructor's requirements


  • Tend to join campus groups were they can put their ideals into practice or serve others

  • Roommates may find them quiet, steady friends with unique interests who will follow through on their commitments

  • Report that they do not date much

  • Usually want work to be done before relaxing 

Possible Causes of Stress

  • May ignore information that might challenge what they believe because of single-minded devotion to their cause

  • May have definite expectations of others that are not expressed

  • May have difficulty seeing why others aren't as invested in their ideals

  • May have high expectations for self

  • May have difficulty following instructions because of individualism

Dealing with Stress

  • Naturally trust in their inner vision or values

  • Need to make their expectations clear to others

  • Learn to seek and give criticism more often

  • May need to set realistic goals for self

  • Learn to compromise to meet professors' expectations

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From a foreign language website:

INFJ Learning Style

To INFJs, learning is a way of expanding their horizons and a path towards growth and development, and this acts as a powerful motivation. They prefer to learn in a friendly, co-operative atmosphere in which exploration and discovery are encouraged. They enjoy playing with ideas, experimenting with possibilities and thinking around their subject, but need to have a clear purpose for doing so.


They become absorbed in a subject deeply and read as much about it as they can. They are good at conceptualizing and abstract reasoning, though they may be less interested in facts and figures. They learn equally well on their own or with others, though they seek encouragement and approval from both their peers and their teachers.


For them to become fully involved, their imagination needs to be stimulated, as a result of which they benefit from reading, multi-media learning, inspiring lectures, workshops and group discussions. Exercises, routine, detailed tasks, and targets tend to de-motivate them.


As learners, INFJs:

are stimulated by and quick to comprehend ideas

enjoy abstract thinking and conceptualising

are motivated to learn in order to further their own and other people’s development

benefit from allowing their creativity and inspiration free reign

may need to be encouraged to share their insights

benefit from developing discrimination, criticism and objectivity

tend to dislike facts and figures

prefer an unstructured or playful learning environment

INFJs are most comfortable learning when:

reading, reflecting, exchanging ideas and linking them to their existing knowledge

allowed to generate ideas without constraints

involved with other people, e.g., discussing ideas, solving problems as part of a team, feeling it is appropriate to "have a go"

able to stand back from events and listen/observe, e.g., observing a group at work, taking a back seat in a meeting, reflecting on what they have learnt

allowed to think before acting, to assimilate before commenting, or given time to prepare or to do background reading

given the chance to question and probe the basic methodology, assumptions or logic behind an idea

in structured situations with a clear purpose

asked to assess beforehand what they will learn from a project, and to appraise afterwards what they have learned

INFJs are least comfortable when:

asked to repeat essentially the same activity over and over again, e.g., when practicing a task

having to carry out painstaking research, e.g., investigating, assembling information, probing to get to the bottom of things, or when asked to produce carefully considered analyses and reports

"forced" into the limelight, e.g., to act as leader or chairman

having to stick to precise and specific instructions about how things should be done

asked to act or decide without a basis in policy, principle or concept

the focus is on analysis, detail or facts and figures


However, engaging in learning activities that contain some of the above is often of greater benefit in terms of their overall development.

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I believe it's also important to know one's Learning Style.  You can take a free assessment here.


Once you grasp the information contained on this page, it's important to turn learning *styles* into learning *strategies* and make this information work FOR you instead of against you.  Take charge of your own learning whenever you can.


Doug Dean

Please Understand Me

Working Together: A Personality-Centered Approach to Management, Second Edition

People Types and Tiger Stripes

Learning Patterns and Temperament Styles

"The best learners make the best leaders."

Stages of Learning

I've often thought that there is a crisis period in learning. Those better versed in the literature may know of authors who have addressed the topic. But, I tend to view learning as having stages similar to the stages that Dr. Kenneth Blanchard notes in his Situational Leadership model.

Competence = transferable skills + task specific skills
Commitment = confidence + motivation

1. D1 High commitment
Low competence

2. D2 Low commitment
Variable competence

3. D3 Variable commitment
High competence

4. D4 High competence
High commitment

Dr. Blanchard identifies someone in these four stages as:

1. D1 Enthusiastic Beginner
2. D2 Disillusioned Learner
3. D3 Cautious Contributor
4. D4 Self-reliant Contributor

Without taking the space to fully explain Blanchard's model, it seems to me that this model applies equally as well to a learning curve as it does to leadership development.

In D1, a learner is beginning to address the learning curve. Enthusiasm is high and skill level is low. It's new and exciting information for the learner.

In D2, the learner has spent some time grappling with the new information and faces the realization of the full scope of the effort necessary to master the new skill or knowledge.

In D3, a learner is beginning to experience proficiency in understanding the knowledge or exhibiting the skill. In D4, the learner is competent and committed.  It is in this "D2" stage that one must provide high support and high direction to a budding leader because it is a crisis for them. My sense is that a similar dynamic is at work when one attempts to learn new information or a new skill.

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