Sequential and Random Learners

Sequential learners learn step by step. They want to know what comes first and they then add further information in steps. They like to know what’s coming up next and they prefer to stay focused on a single task. Maths is a sequential subject where learners need each step in order, for example, you can’t learn to multiply before you have learned addition. Multiplication is repeated addition.

A random learner thinks chaotically and may have several projects going at once. During discussion there is often no apparent logical thought process as they jump from one point to another and you as the listener are left wondering how they went from topic A to topic X and back to topic G.

Sequential Characteristics:

  • like step by step
  • more likely to read instructions first
  • tidy – everything has its place
  • often methodical
  • strong chronological narrative
  • one-task focused

Random Characteristics:

  • like variety
  • have many tasks happening
  • simultaneously
  • often wander off on a tangent
  • when talking or writing

Communicating in the classroom:

Allow sequential learners to finish one task before going on to the next and give them the, ‘what’s next?’ It’s good to display your long term plans for these learners so they know where they’re headed. Random learners will be very happy to have several projects on the go at the same time, however, they can be frustrated by being forced to do one task at a time. Allow these learners to work on contract so they can complete each day’s tasks in the order they prefer.



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