What do we mean when we talk about introverts and extroverts? Basically, they are two broad personality types first mentioned in the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in the 20th Century.1
Here’s a simplified summary of these personality types:
Introverts are directed inward (toward their own thoughts and feelings). They feel drained of energy after spending time around other people, in social situations or crowds. They recharge by spending time alone.1,2
Extroverts are directed outward (toward other people and the world around them). They feel drained of energy after spending too much time alone. They recharge by interacting with other people.1,2
Jung himself pointed out that there’s no such thing as a “pure” introvert or extrovert. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum between the two.2 You can take a quick online personality test to help you figure out where you are on this spectrum.3
Introverted vs Extroverted Learners
Naturally, introverts and extroverts have different learning styles that work best for them. Whether learning in the classroom or online, your personality type will influence your learning preferences.
Usually learn by observing
Prefer to work alone
Take their time in completing tasks
Prefer to describe something rather than demonstrate
Prefer to study alone without noise or interruptions
May be more self-conscious about making errors.
Usually learn by doing
Enjoy interactive work and group projects
May be easily distracted
May rush when completing tasks
Prefer to demonstrate something rather than describe it
Need regular social breaks after long periods of studying
Make bolder choices and feel less concerned about making mistakes.
Study Strategies for Your Personality Type
Once you get to know your learning preferences, it’s easier to find the right learning strategies to help you get the most from your studies and learn more effectively.
Top tips for introverts:5
Focus on independent self-study.
Make sure you have a quiet and peaceful place to study without interruptions.
Keep your workspace neat and tidy; clutter can be a type of “mental noise” that distracts introverts.
When taking a break, focus on activities that recharge you and don’t drain you.
If you do start to crave company, find another introvert to study with.
Top tips for extroverts:6
Find a study partner or join a study group.
Participate in online educational forums.
Change your study environment regularly; for example, move from the library to your desk at home to a local café.
Create an upbeat playlist of background music to play while you study.
Schedule regular social breaks with friends or family in between study sessions.
No matter where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, switching up your study style can be a useful way to boost your brain. For example, introverts might enjoy making mind maps, listening to audio textbooks or watching recorded online lectures. Extroverts might prefer practical demonstrations, bouncing ideas back and forth in a group, or participating in a live online discussion.
There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to study, provided it leaves you with a better understanding of the subject.