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Tips for Parents:  Global vs. Analytic Learners | PDF

Español/Spanish: Consejos para padres - Aprendizaje global vs. analítico

The key to a successful learning experience depends on recognizing and supporting your child’s unique learning style. This Tips for Parents will hlep you learn what your child's learning style is.

What is a learning style?

A learning style is the way in which an individual concentrates, processes, and retains difficult information.  Most children learn in one of the two ways—analytically or globally.

How do I know if my child is a global learner?

Global learners need to understand concepts before they start concentrating on the details.  Endless facts tend to bore them and they lose interest fast.  They understand things better when they are introduced to them through short stories, illustrations, humor, or anecdotes.  Globals like to learn by being actively involved with information that is interesting and related to their lives.

Children who prefer soft light and informal seating such as an easy chair, bed, or lying on the carpet, are likely to be global learners.  Having the TV on or music playing should not be cause for alarm.  Such things actually help global learners by creating an environment that feels comfortable. 

Group studying is popular with global learners.  They may find it more fun and interesting when solving problems with others.  It’s not unusual for globals to work on several tasks simultaneously, taking frequent breaks in between.  Snacking while working is also part of the global learning style.

How do I know if my child is an analytic learner?

Analytic learners follow a more conventional pattern.  They prefer to concentrate on a series of facts that move toward a gradual understanding of an overall concept.  Having information introduced in a step-by-step approach enables children with analytic styles to learn best. 

Children who like to work sitting at a desk, under a bright light, and in quiet surroundings are likely to be analytic learners.  They tend to concentrate for long stretches at a time without taking breaks or snacking, preferring to work alone on a single task until it is completed.

Not Better, Different

Each style is different and offers its own particular strengths.  You can support these strengths by allowing your child to study in the way that feels more comfortable.  Most importantly—don’t expect your child to study the way you did or the way another child does.  The result is likely to be frustrating for both for you, and may even prevent your child from learning.

How to hold your child’s attention:

Global learners

  • Explain your point by using a story or personal experience
  • Use colorful drawings or lists to illustrate points
  • Provide snacks
  • Permit breaks when doing homework
  • Allow your child to work with a friend
  • Begin by explaining an overall concept, then move to the detail

Analytic learners

  • Speak directly to the point, using clear understandable language
  • Give directions in a step-by-step manner
  • Use visual aids, e.g., written lists in addition to verbal directions
  • Begin with the facts and move to a gradual understanding of the topic

How to encourage interest in a topic:

For both learning styles

  • Provide books that are related directly or indirectly to the topic
  • Ask questions to express your interest in the subject
  • Help your child do “projects” about the topic (e.g., build a papier-mâché dinosaur)
  • Encourage children to keep journals about their new findings

For More Information:

Fuller, Cheri.  “Talkers, Watchers, and Doers: Unlocking Your Child's Unique Learning Style”.  Pinon Press, 2004.

Willis, Mariaemma Ms; Hodson, Victoria Ma Kindle.  “Discover Your Child's Learning Style: Children Learn in Unique Ways - Here's the Key to Every Child's Learning Success”.   Prima Lifestyles, 1999.

Web link: 
What’s Your Learning Style?

You may also find these Tips for Parents helpful:

Tips for Parents: Learning Styles

Tips for Parents: Parent Involvement

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