Using Cognitive Functions to Understand and Help Learners: The Learning Environment – Wake Technical Community College Professional Development Conference 2016

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1:40pm, PLM Building, Rm 154. Wake Tech Main Campus, Raleigh, NC. Presented by Amanda Sinodis, Carrie Carreno-Zingaro

Using Cognitive Functions to Understand and Help Learners: The Learning Environment – Wake Technical Community College Professional Development Conference 2016


This session was run in part during the first semester, but this session will be regarding practical assistance in the classroom.


  1. How do i recognize the 4 preferred leaning environments in student during tutoring sessions
  2. What techniques are best suited for studentsin the different functions.
  3. Understand and adapt, but not to change all approaches


Cognitive functions represetn 4 ways that people take in information about the world (perceive) the world and four ways people make decisions (judge)

People who are thinkers make decisions on logic, reason, competency.
people who are feelers make decisions based on harmony, increase happiness, values that influence the decision. In the learning environment, WHEN and HOW can you interact, and HOW can you receive support.

Importance of Cognitive Functions

  • true meaning behind type
  • easier categorization than 16 types
  • for this workshop consider the 3rd/4th letters
    • tp = intrevoerted thinging
    • tj = extraverted thinker
    • fp = introverted feeling
    • fj = extraverted feeling

Students preferred learning environments: Decision Making Functions

We watched a short video – cognitive functions- student learning decisions
[can we find this?]


Salli spoke first , interested in lists, tasks, inclusion on everyone doing their part. They will push each item through to completion. Relies heavily on logic. She wants her thought process verbalized.

TE Thinkers use objective standards for decision-making. They structure and organize the outside world. THey consistently apply relevant rules.

Extroverted Thinkers tend to:

  • think out loud
  • debate
  • work toward efficiency

Extroverted Thinkers tend to:

    Need objective standards

  • structure
  • consistency
  • have instructors or tutors they respect
  • fairness for themselves and others.


Paul needed more time and information to complete his decisions.

TI thinkers are more directed inward. He uses very precisely formated and formulated language – may be slow to respond while formulation. They use well-tuned phrases for which other have no context. They also seek “clean” objective information free from bias.

Introverted thinkers tends to:

  • value logical analysis
  • use an internal system or process to guide decision-making
  • rely on on logical relationships (if-then)
  • Assume he or she is correct.

TI thinker needs to:

  • see identify and use categories, often self-created
  • be encouraged to explain the decision process
  • find ways to deal with stress, which isn’t expressed to others
  • Be reminded to connect analysis with real-world data and information

His nickname is “Accuracy”

Group activity

We broke out into group and looked to strategies for setting the tone of a tutoring sessions

For Salli:

  • Using a structured agenda
  • have a clearly defined purpose and end goal
  • Consistent structure across multiple sessions
  • walk through the thinking process and examine each step of the process one at a time
  • refer to specifics of the document or asssignment.
  • allow entire thought to be told from beginning to end

For Paul:

  • Show another example from start to finish
  • explain how they arrived
  • ask expressive and open-ended questions
  • prompt to consider the opposite view and find if they are still right
  • review the materials at the end.
  • encourage them to look to the material
  • help find ways to alleviate stress


Worried, together, assist, help, supportive, seeks to assist. He was a leader in the “let’s be a group” way. Talks in WE language. Concensus building, validation of others, and warmth and compassion lead the way for this character

Nickname is “Harmony”

Extroverted Feelers tends to:

  • avoid conflict
  • understand what is important to others
  • people pleaser
  • evaluate the impact of decisions on others
  • nurture group
  • be tuned into the feelings and emotions of others.

Extroverted Feeler needs to:

    have harmony in outer world

  • collaborate
  • see everyone has voice
  • have opportunity to work with and support others.


Nail-biting, did not talk. Spoke when drawn out by others. Did not believe in what she had to work on. Once her personal ideas were considered, she had buy-in.

Nickname is “Authenticity”

IF tends to:

  • live in head according to valeues
  • holds strongly to personal beliefs and feelings
  • lives in ideals
  • be interested in values
  • seeks alignment of “The right thinkg to do”

IF needs to:

  • have harmony with inner values
  • time for comtemplation and decision-making
  • be emotionally supportive

Group activity

We broke out into group and looked to strategies for setting the tone of a tutoring sessions

For Alan:

  • Create a personal connection
  • suggest study groups if ongoing assistance needed
  • ask if environment is an issue
  • open a relationship with the student
  • use active, interpersonal learning
  • let student talk through concepts
  • give opportunity to become the teacher
  • break topics into small, discrete parts
  • give session a personal feel

For Julie:

  • Assure them that this is a safe environment
  • Encourage social media/text/asynchronus communication if ongoing assistance needed
  • be emotionally supportive with “Let’s solve this together”
  • ask leading and open-ended question to allow them to talk if they’d like about their issues
  • act as learning coach with concrete suggestions and options for learning
  • guide them through self discover
  • discrete structured learning path
  • have student tie learning to personal/career goals
  • encourage student to reflect on their learning process

In Conclusion

TE learns best when they are able to manage their own learning and master their skills. (what works best)
IT learns best when mentally absorbed in analyzing topics and investigate personal curiosity.(what works best in my head)
FE learn best when they feel a persona connection to others and want individual feedback (how can i get everyone’s needs met)
FI learn best when quietly absorbed and feeling secure in learning environment (What feels right to me)