In order to develop the right teaching aptitude a teacher needs to have a good understanding of Learner’s characteristics. This knowledge can be used in Science of Learning and Cognition to designate a target group of learners and define those aspects of their persona that may influence how and what they learn. This helps in the development of curriculum more suitable to the needs and requirements of the learner’s group or (individual learner as the case may be). This results in a more efficient and effective teaching- Learning process.
Learner’s characteristics can be academic, personal, social, emotional and cognitive in nature.
This pertains to demographic information such as- Age, Gender, Language, Socio-Economic Cultural background. Further particular skills and disabilities of the group, are also a part of this characteristic type.
They are more of education and learning related such as learning goals of individual or a group, prior knowledge, type of education received and level of education achieved.
- Social and Emotional
These characteristics relate to the group and in case of individual its relation to the group. Some examples can be- the position of an individual in a group, image perception, Socialisation etc.
These relate to the attention span, memory and intellectual skills that affect the retention of information, problem solving abilities and how the brain processes any data.
Consideration of these characteristics and their incorporation in the process of teaching results in a learner-centric approach to teaching. Further this also ensures that the instructions designed by this approach is more targeted as it is designed keeping in mind the goals and objectives of the learner- What the learner wants to learn? or what are the learner’s expectations from the whole process? The instructor can use this knowledge to develop tailor made instructional strategies to enable learner to achieve the shared educational objectives.
The instructor must keep in mind that sometimes there exist wide differences in the characteristics between individuals in a group or among several groups. For example difference in the motivation level of older people, professionals, adults or disabled people or difference in experience or the knowledge pool etc. these differences too need to be accommodated in the instructions designed for teaching.