As learning has become very diverse in today’s scenario, there are several sorts of learners and there are distinct characteristics for each one of them. The learning process is a process that leads to a permanent change in the learner which is an outcome of experiencing an increase in the potential for better performance.
Learners' characteristics are one of the easiest topics in the teaching aptitude syllabus and there is a high probability that questions will be asked about this topic in UGC NET Paper 1. This topic can be easily understood in detail from this article.
Meaning of Learners Characteristics
Learners characteristics define aspects such as persona, the academic, social, or cognitive self which may influence how and what they learn.
Learners characteristics can be broadly studied under the below-mentioned heads
- Personal characteristics: These relate to the demographics such as age, gender, language is spoken, cultural background, etc. concerning a person and is also a very vital aspect of learners characteristics
- Academic characteristics: These characteristics are the educational or learning characteristics relating to an individual, a group of people, etc. where their prior knowledge, educational style, and level of education are also considered. This makes academics to be a determining factor of learners characteristics.
- Social and emotional: These specify the characteristics related to an individual or a group, such as a self-image, self-efficacy, cohesiveness, etc.
- Cognitive: This refers to the mental capabilities of a person and aspects such as mental procedures, intellectual skills, problem-solving techniques adopted, etc. are considered.
Characteristics of effective learning
Learning is a well-structured process wherein all the necessities if followed, it become an effective learning process. Effective learning is a process that helps learners retain their knowledge. It is seen that with effective learning children develop rich language, knowledge, and concentration skills. After knowing about learners characteristics we must next study the characteristics of effective learning.
- Questions are encouraged and valued
- Students develop ideas from a variety of sources
- Different models of learning are incorporated.
- Exploring and playing enhance learning
- Learning should be personalized.
- There should be a proper assessment that is persistent, authentic, and fair.
- students to be actively involved in learning.
- There should be enough motivation among the teachers and students as well to participate well in the teaching-learning process.
- There should be enough thinking capability in the students for building up an effective learning environment.
There are several approaches to learning and one of which is the learner-centred approach, details of which are discussed below.
Meaning of learner-centred approach
A learner-centred approach to education or learning completely shifts focus from the teacher towards the learner and it enables the usage of interactive strategies to engage students and build their abilities.
Characteristics of the learner-centred approach
Learner-centred approach to learning and education has some distinct features, some of which have been mentioned below.
- Construction of learning: Teachers need to make sure that a student's previous learning is linked with new ideas for them to establish a better understanding of the subject matter.
- Metacognition: It basically means thinking about one’s thinking. The students to be metacognitive they must know how and know the need to think about their thinking. This makes students take responsibility for their own learning and engage in meaningful experiences.
- Educator/student partnership in learning: For any sort of effective learning it is necessary for the students to be an integral part of the learning process. Teachers and students need to work in collaboration to make learning more effective and impactful.
- Collaborative Learning: It is a scenario wherein the students work along with their peers so that they learn and grow with them. Students learn from each other a lot and also enhance their skills in this process, so this concept should be developed and promoted in any educational setup.
- Authentic Assessment: It is the accurate and appropriate assessment of a student's progress as an outcome of an effective teaching and learning process.
- Evidence base: This means that there should be certain standards kept in mind while implementing educational activities, this will not only ensure quality but also enhance the skills of the students.
Types of learners and their characteristics
Learners can be divided according to their distinct characteristics and nature, some of which have been explained below.
Learners can firstly be divided into three categories according to their age or maturity level, such as young, adolescent, and adult learners.
These learners are children and their way of learning is quite distinct as compared to the learning behaviour of other age groups.
Characteristics of young learners
- These learners are the ones who are in grades 1-4.
- They learn by talking about themselves, their families, and their friends.
- They are very keen to search for new concepts and ideas.
- They usually use their imagination to discover new things.
- They use their sense of touch, smell, sight, and hearing to learn about new things.
- Their attention span is quite short so they constantly need to be involved in attractive and highly engaging activities for holding onto their attention.
- They need to be constantly motivated and encouraged to try out new things.
- These students need personal guidance from teachers constantly.
These learners are such that their physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects are changing. They are learners mostly in their teens. Their characteristics can be understood below.
Characteristics of adolescent learners
- Adolescent learners are generally divided into two parts such as early adolescent (12-17 years) and late adolescent (17-19 years)
- They are looking for personal identity.
- They are constantly looking for activities that suit their needs and learning requirements.
- When these learners lose interest in a subject matter they become quite disruptive and don't want involvement in it any further.
- They need help and support from teachers in the form of relevant feedback for constant improvement.
- They can draw information required for learning from various sources such as the internet, self-experiences, books, etc.
- They need the help of teachers for bridging the gap between the syllabus designed and their own area of interest.
- They can perform challenging activities.
- They need to be directed and guided so as to keep following the path of success.
Adult learners are those who have become mature and have crossed their teens. They are the ones who have more intellect as compared to the previous two categories of learners.
Characteristics of adult learners
- Adult learners are generally above 18 years.
- They are highly disciplined and usually learn by experience.
- Adult learners are result-oriented.
- Their learning objectives are clearly defined and have specific goals which they are trying to achieve.
- They are actively involved in selecting what and how to be learned.
- They prefer to rely upon themselves and work on their own self-paced.
- They possess wide knowledge, experience, and expectations.
- Their pace of learning depends on the subject matter, their own intellect, their involvement in the process, and the methodology used.
Learners can further be divided according to their distinct characteristics, which are explained below.
They are learners who prefer to get hands-on experience with things rather than listening or reading documents about it. They like to physically experience tangible things and gather information about them.
Characteristics of kinesthetic learners
- They believe in real-life touch and feel experience.
- They believe in tangible goods.
- Engaging them involves using props, and other physical evidence to make learning more understandable for them.
- Studying for long hours with reference to a physical object is a complete no for them.
Visual/ Spatial Learners
They are the ones who use visual memory to retain information and learn. They can be directed towards a better learning experience by using charts, images, photos, etc.
Characteristics of Spatial Learners
- They think in pictures rather than in words.
- They usually look at the picture at once rather than paying attention to the minute details.
- They have a good attention span and are highly observant.
- They use visual memory to retain information.
- They respond well to colours and mind maps.
- People generally use maps, diagrams, and flow charts to teach them which could be beneficial for teaching them.
They are the ones who retain information by listening to information or by saying it aloud.
Characteristics of auditory learners
- They retain information by using their auditory senses.
- They instantly recognize changes in tone, pitch and other voice qualities.
- They are quite easy to distract.
- They have usually been seen humming, singing, and talking to themselves.
- They must prefer to record classes.
These are learners who use traditional written material for studying.
Characteristics of Verbal Learners
- They have a very good memory for written and spoken words.
- They might use acronyms, rhymes, tongue twisters, etc. to retain their knowledge.
- They are known to be bookworms.
- They enjoy reading whether it is silently or reading aloud.
- They have the capability to retain information as they have read.
- They should be encouraged to jot down ideas and thoughts.
They are learners who classify information into subgroups to recall information better.
Characteristics of logical learners
- They have the ability to recognize patterns and sequences and divide information into subgroups.
- They love the logic in information.
- They are naturally inclined towards mathematics.
- They are able to generate cause-and-effect relationships in the information.
They are similar to mathematical learners in the sense that they recognize patterns and sequences in the sounds and that is how they retain information.
Characteristics of musical learners
- They have the ability to recognize and sub-divide information according to its musical notes.
- They can be easily distracted by the background noise.
- They generally become musicians and instrumentalists.
They are the ones who learn better through experimentation and practical experiences.
Characteristics of Naturalistic learners
- They are similar to kinesthetic learners where importance is given to tactical sensations.They are said to be one with nature.
- They apply scientific reasoning to the world around them and try to understand the information in such a sense.
- They are to be ideally given lessons outdoors for better experiences.
- They love working close to nature.
They are a combination of auditory and verbal learners.
Characteristics of Linguistic Learners
- They retain information much longer by writing, reading, and saying out information aloud.
- They usually make their own notes while studying.
- They like written projects and assignments.
Interpersonal/ social Learners
These are the learners who best work in groups rather than individually.
Characteristics of Social Learners
- They are popular in groups and also like to be with a large number of people.
- They are vocal and not afraid to ask questions.
- They are very active socially.
- They make new friends easily.
- They are the ones who make good leaders.
- They are excellent communicators and presenters and attract people towards them easily.
- They also tend to possess good negotiating skills.
Intrapersonal/ solitary Learners
They are usually learners who are quite in contrast to social learners. They are learners who like to work alone and are usually self-motivated.
Characteristics of Social Learners
- They are more independent by nature and like working alone.
- They have great self-management skills.
- They find difficulty in drawing conclusions from discussions.
- They are more confident while working alone.
- They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
- They introspect within themselves
- They tend to like sitting in a quiet area.
Community of Learners
A community of learners is a group of people who are actively involved in engaging each other in the learning process. Here people learn from one another and in this way every individual is benefitted from this kind of ecosystem.
Characteristics of a community of learners
- Each and everyone is welcome to be a part of the community.
- There is mutual respect for all the learners involved.
- In this environment, students feel safe and secure.
- There are expectations of the overall growth of every individual involved.
- Teachers and students are working in collaboration in this ecosystem.
Learners are of several kinds and are to be dealt with in a separate way by the teacher so that there is a positive learning environment in the institute. We also came to know that learning if done in a collaborative way is more productive in nature.
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