Tools for Self-Assessment
We’ve discussed the value of asking other people for input on your strengths and weaknesses. What about other ways of assessing yourself?
A multitude of resources are available, both in print and online, that can furnish insight into your personality and preferences. Keep in mind that these tools can vary in their ease of use as well as their accuracy. Further, you will find some of the more trusted tools cost money. It will be up to you to determine whether such an investment is a smart move for you.
A clear, comprehensive self-assessment is important whether you are an online or an on-ground student. However, self-knowledge can benefit you considerably as an online student.
We are talking about personality not in reference to whether you laugh at jokes or like to have fun but rather in terms of understanding your own mindset and attitudes when it comes to studying and learning.
Do you know your personality type? You can learn about different personality types through a web search or by reading a book on the subject. A typical search on the web using the queries “personality test” or “personality profile” will yield many free tests, and you will find numerous references to the most popular personality test, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI; Myers & Briggs Foundations, n.d.).
Isabel Myers Briggs and her mother developed the MBTI over 50 years ago. One of the most trusted assessments in the world, it is grounded in the work of the psychologist C. G. Jung. This assessment evaluates your personality by looking at 16 different indicators, resulting in a scaled differentiation between sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, introversion and extroversion, and judging and perceiving.
When taking personality assessments, remember they are simply indicators to help you know yourself better. Do not pigeonhole yourself. Rather, think about what the results mean, whether you like what they represent, and if you want to change anything. For example, you may find you are very introverted, and you would like to be more extroverted. You might create a goal of becoming more social by putting yourself in situations where you will have to interact with others. Or perhaps you like being introverted and do not wish to change. Think about how the results relate to being a student, specifically an online student.
Many theorists suggest that humans have multiple intelligences, which indicates that certain components of intelligence align with preferred learning styles: mathematical, visual, physical, musical, verbal, naturist, extroverted, and introverted frames of reference. You may find you are stronger in some areas than in others, and thus this would be your intelligence area. The ideas behind multiple intelligences are grounded in the theories of Howard Gardner (Gardner, 1983).
You have heard people say, “I am not that good at math.” According to these theories, such individuals may not have a high mathematical intelligence. Similarly, if someone can pick up a guitar and immediately play a song, he or she would be said to have a high musical intelligence. What do you enjoy? Do you sing when the radio comes on? Do you like karaoke? Do you prefer to be outdoors hiking?
All of these preferred activities could be pointing to your intelligences. Becoming aware of your intelligences and finding ways to take advantage of them is a way to leverage your strengths.
For example, if you are a nature lover, and you like to be outside, you might find that if you were to purchase a laptop and do your work by the lake, your writing would be much easier and your thought process much more defined. It’s yet another beautiful aspect of online learning.
What about music? How can you incorporate this into studying? Think about how you learned your “ABCs.” It was most likely through singing. You may find if you have musical intelligence, you want to listen to soft music while you work. Or perhaps you can put some complicated material into the lyrics of your favorite song. Determine where your intelligences lie, and then consider how you can use them to be successful in an online environment.
The goal of this section was to make you aware of these assessments and the impact they can have on you. If you are interested in learning more, search on the Internet using keywords such as multiple intelligences, intelligences, and Howard Gardner.
© ______ 2009, Prentice Hall, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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