Seán Henry's Synthesis of LI 802XR, Theoretical Foundations of Diagnosis & Customization


Personality Types and Learning Styles

Now is the time to apply some insights about personality types and learning styles in order to prescribe resources that give patrons the right information fit.


Miss Brahms (INFP) and Mrs. Slocombe (ENTJ) sometimes clash in their working relationship

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI is a helpful tool for assessing personality types and measuring interpersonal communications. Organizations use it to create and motivate teamwork, helping employees learn to work together more effectively.

Why is this so important for customer service? Sales clerks as well as information professionals have to devise ways to work together and make each other look good. In the end, everything we do ends up in front of the customer/patron/client.

Moreover, knowledge of the MTBI helps information professionals assess our patrons learning styles, thus assuring that their information and research needs are addressed properly as the right fit: See Kolb's Learning Modes below.

Based on Carl Jung's typology, MBTI provides an accurate picture of a persons personality type by determining preferences along four dichotomies. They are listed in the table below, along with some win-win work strategies for different personality types. Since Im an ENTJ, I highlighted in pale lavender the work strategy cells that I particularly need to heed. 

Dichotomy 1:

Extraversion vs.


E Extraversion

tend to focus on the outer world of people and things.

I Introversion

tend to focus on the inner world of ideas and impressions

Work Strategies

When Es work with Is: Give time to reflect and consider.

When Is work with Es: Project energy and enthusiasm


Dichotomy 2:

Sensing vs. Intuition

S Sensing

Tend to focus on the present and on concrete information

N Intuition

Tend to focus on the future, with a view to patterns and possibilities

When Ss work with Ns: State the big ideas first

When Ns work with Ss: Work out the details of your idea before presentation

Dichotomy 3:

Thinking vs. Feeling

T Thinking

Tend to base decisions on logic and on objective analysis of cause and effect

F Feeling

Tend to base decisions on values and subjective evaluation of person-centered concerns

When Ts work with Fs: Express a concern for the people involved

When Fs work with Ts: Arrange your points in a logical way

Dichotomy 4:

Judging vs. Perceiving

J Judging

Prefer a planned and organized approach to life and having things settled.

P Perceiving

Prefer a flexible and spontaneous approach to life and keeping their options open.

When Js work with Ps: Be flexible

When Ps work with Js: Plan ahead, use timelines, set deadlines, and follow them.


Myers-Briggs Links:

Kolb's Learning Modes

Kolb's theory of learning styles, like the MBTI, is based on the work of Carl Jung. According to Kolb, thinking and learning exist as two continua of experience: extending from action to reflection (participating to watching); and from the concrete to the abstract (from sensing and feeling intuitively to analyzing and abstract reasoning).

Although individuals can learn and function anywhere along these continua, Kolb asserts that they have preferences for one of the four modes in the circle below. Click on the modes or scroll further down for further description.

The dark green letters indicate the Myers-Briggs types associated with each mode.


(1) Concrete Experiencers (feelers) like to be involved in experiences and immediate human situations in a personal way. They prefer present reality to theories and generalizations.

(2) Reflective observers watchers) like to understand the meaning and implication of ideas and situations by carefully observing and impartially describing them. They are good at looking at things from different perspectives.

(3) Abstract Conceptualizers (thinkers) prefer using logic, ideas, and concepts. They prefer general theories and concepts and are good at systematic planning and quantitative analysis.

(4) Active Experimenters (doers) like to actively influencing people and changing situations. They prefer practical applications as opposed to reflective understanding.

Back to Kolb diagram
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Gardner's Multiple Intelligences

Gardner challenges Binet's IQ testing methodology and defines intelligence as the ability to solve problems in a variety of areas that reflect skills valued by families, communities, and cultures over time. In other words, intelligence can't simply be measured by verbal and analytical skills alone. Below are the the eight types of intelligences according to Gardner.


Special Sensitivities



Sounds and meanings of words

Writing, poetry, debate, word games


Inductive and deductive reasoning, problem solving, sense of order

Logic, science


Imaging, mapping and pattern-making, visual-spatial relationships

Art, architecture, sculpture, film-making


Mimetics, coordination, motor skills, role playing

Dance, athletics, dramatics


Melody, structure and tone, pitch, and rhythm

Composing, music making, singing, humming


Communication skills, awareness of and sensitivity to others

Teaching, parenting, counseling, politics


Mindfulness, self-awareness, personal understanding

Philosophy, psychiatry


Environmental awareness, Biological processes, attunement to natural world

Farming, gardening, hunting, biological sciences

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