Global and Analytical Learners

Global learners need the big picture. They like to see where concepts interrelate with other concepts and how it all applies to them. 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.

 Global Characteristics

  • 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

Analytical Characteristics

  • 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

When doing a jigsaw puzzle an analytical learner will tend to take any two pieces and see if they fit together, then take another piece and so on. They also tend to start anywhere with the puzzle, and do sections as the pieces turn up. The global learner, after completing the frame, will compare a piece of the puzzle with the picture on the box and place it in the corresponding area within the frame.

Communicating in the classroom

According to the Dunn & Dunn research, 70% of teachers teach analytically and 70% of students learn globally. The technique of hiding the page on an OHP and revealing it line by line (intellectual flashing!) drives a person who prefers to process globally insane. They want to see the whole thing so they can work out how it fits together.

Maths teachers tend to be analytical and might say, ‘Today we are doing quadratic equations. Please turn to page 39 and complete numbers 1- 5.’ This again, is frustrating for global processors as they are wondering, ‘Given that we are all going to die, what is the point of quadratic equations?’ They need to be given a reason for learning them and how they will apply to their lives.

Analytical learners get very frustrated when teachers do not give any facts or figures. They often want to know, ‘Who said?’ and they respond to phrases such as ‘research shows…’ or ‘scientists have found…’. Their eyes often light up when the teacher mentions numbers and dates and they’ll often write these down immediately.



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