Book By: Christine A. Johnston
Review By: Sarah Beebe
Graduate Research Assistant
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Kansas State University
As the work force globalizes and technologies become faster, workers must be increasingly adaptable, flexible, and productive. According to Christine Johnston, in Finding Your Way: Navigating Life by Understanding, the best way workers can be successful is by having a complete understanding of how they learn, knowing ways to intensify their weak areas, and how to tether their strengths when needed. This book walks readers through discovering their personal learning patterns and connects their learning styles to a compass rose using a sailing metaphor.
This book includes the Learning Connections Inventory (LCI) which assesses learning patterns. Results provide readers with their abilities in four learning patterns: sequence, precision, technical reasoning, and confluence. Johnston discusses the pros and cons of each learning pattern in depth illustrating how each affects work both individually and within a group. Sometimes strong learning patterns inhibit individuals’ ability to succeed when work is presented using a different pattern so the author provides many techniques to cope with strengths and weaknesses.
Johnston indicates that Finding Your Way is structured to guide readers on an interactive and personal journey in which they discover how to use their minds with intention (p.xx ). Readers who enjoy self-help books will find that the author does a thorough job explaining the learning connections as she provides commentary that goes beyond simply taking a Myers-Briggs assessment. This commentary makes the book a good alternative to other learning style assessments. Readers can pick up learning pattern indicators of others who have not taken the LCI which can be very useful for student affairs professionals and academic advisors. Although the author does not provide questions to infer students’ learning patterns, readers will find that it is easy to create their own questions. Readers who know their strengths and weaknesses within each pattern, as well as how to tether or intensify patterns, can guide students to improve their learning and work patterns to succeed in classes and in group settings.
This book is particularly helpful to advisors working with students who are struggling with group assignments. Using concepts from Johnston, advisors can help students recognize differences in other’s learning styles and when to tether strengths or intensify weaknesses in order to improve the group dynamics.
Although the author had many opportunities to cite research supporting her ideas she sadly did not use the opportunity to connect the LCI to theory or research. It would have also served the book well to tie in applicable theories (e.g., Kolb’s Experimental Learning Theory).
I personally find self-help books slightly difficult to read with their forced similes and cliché phrases. However, readers who like the self-help genre should find the book useful in the advising setting. While this book is designed for the workplace and not specifically for higher education it can be used as professional development among office staff and with students.
Finding Your Way: Navigating Life by Understanding Your Learning Self. (2010) Book by Christine A. Johnston. Review by Sarah Beebe. Glassboro, NJ: Let Me Learn, Inc. 181 pgs. $18.95. ISBN 978-1451549560.