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These could also be described as “do” versus “think.”  People tend to prefer one category or another and this preference may be strong, moderate, or mild.  A balance of the two is desirable. If you always act before reflecting you can jump into things prematurely and get into trouble, while if you spend too much time reflecting you may never get anything done.

Active Learners:

  • Need to be active with the material—discuss it, apply it, or explain it to others. 
  • Want to do things before receiving an explanation
  • Benefit the most from study groups
  • Lecture situations are difficult.  It is difficult to sit through the lecture without doing anything physical.
  • Tend to like group work

Help Yourself

  • Do something with the information:  make charts, pictures, models, etc.
  • Use a number of colors while taking notes or doing homework
  • Work in groups
  • Bring something small (and not noisy) to fidget with during lectures to keep your attention
  • Work with others to see what will be asked on the next test, and figure out how you will answer
  • You will retain information better if you find ways to do something with it

Reflective Learners:

  • Would rather think about information quietly on their own before discussing it with the rest of the group
  • Prefer to work alone
  • Sitting through lectures that don’t allow time to think about new information is difficult

Help Yourself

  • Stop periodically while studying to review what you have read, and think about possible applications
  • Summarize readings, lecture notes, etc. in your own words
    Visit office hours
  • Stop periodically to review information