Coping with Learning Environments
There are individuals who cannot stand to be "in a box." This is how they feel about being in a classroom in the same place, at the same time, with the same schedule and the same teacher each day. Some persons need to study on their own, while others want to be in a large discussion group. The Learning Environments ratings address these questions.
Those who are gregarious and/or equipped with social traits of self-sufficiency, aggression, persuasion, managerial capability, etc. are motivated toward the company of, and association with others as the ideal personal and communicative environment. For those who are not so motivated or equipped, involvement in large groups will cause inhibitions, perceptual and communicative blockage.
For the non-gregarious, self-oriented who is, nonetheless, equipped for social persuasion or dominance, the small group is preferred over the large group or isolation if the group appears to that person to be in his or her interest. For those oriented toward large-group involvement, small group involvement is fully within their coping capability.
Some persons seek and need isolation from others if they are to perceive and retain information rather than be distracted. From the foregoing definitions, those who require an isolated learning environment can be readily identified.
An 'impersonal', non-intimidating, auditory orientation which favors a large number of persons, particularly if the lecture communicates general concepts (and uses visual media to some degree) rather than fact or data presentation. "Lecture" here means one person speaking to a listening group. It does not suggest dialog. It particularly does not suggest public questioning or testing.
Public dialog favors those equipped with the aggression, persuasion, intimidation, manipulative, managerial or gregarious traits which cause them to cope with, gain from, or control an interpersonal dialog with others. Contrarily, it works against those not equipped for dialog.
There are individuals who require isolation from others for an environment in which they can perceive, concentrate and absorb. A number of individual or interactive factors can cause this need. Unless they have such an environment, distraction, frustration and/or stress can cause perceptual and input blockage. A careful review of the rating factors of this entire list will give a clear picture of traits helping or hindering this loner orientation.
Two principal kinds of persons are in need of formal structuring of their learning environment: (1) non-aggressive, non-persuasive, factual and procedural persons who want and need "a place for everything and everything in its place"; and (2) those who need a structured, known, given, accepted, monitored and reinforced learning environment which compensates for their lack of self-discipline and drive.
A 'best of both worlds' learning environment which appeals to the persons who are equipped with analytical, exploratory, disciplined minds. They gain from the disciplines and procedures of formal structuring and find challenge in non-structured (but disciplined and procedural) exploration in the areas of the non-structured environment.
The independent individual who is marching to his own drum who, successful or not, must follow that beat which he alone hears and which he cannot avoid hearing. It is this person who poses the greatest challenge for teachers and institutions because a learning environment for that person must be custom tailored. Teaching, for that person, must be the creation of a unique learning environment for that person not
the 'breaking' of the individual to the habits and the convenience of the teacher or institution.