Strengths Spotlight: Learner vs Input

In my work as a Strengths coach, clients often ask me the difference between the Learner and Input talents. Today, I’d like to share Gallup’s perspective on these two Strategic Thinking strengths.


People who are talented in the learner strength have a love of learning. They want to continuously improve. They are excited by the process of learning rather than the outcome.

They might say:

I am one who enjoys the experience of being a learner.

I will follow the things that interest me.

I love to live on the frontier – the cutting edge.

I dislike knowing it all, and know-it-alls.

I bring a learning perspective.

I need exposure to new information and experiences.


By contrast, people who have the Input strength have a need to collect and archive. They may accumulate information, ideas, artifacts, or even relationships. 

They might say:

I am a utilitarian resource collector.

I will hang onto things that could be helpful resources for others.

I love to provide relevant and tangible help.

I dislike not having things that would be useful to others.

I bring tangible tools that can facilitate growth and performance.

I need space to store the resources I naturally acquire.

If you have these strengths (or know someone who does) look at your remaining top 10 strengths to find clues about the focus of your unique learning and input talents. For example, if your other top strengths are in relationship building, then you may like to learn and gather input about people. Or, if your remaining top strengths are in executing, you may want to learn, and gather input, about ‘how to’ get things done.

It’s helpful to look at the whole picture of the surrounding strengths to fully understand the way our individual talents appear.

Take time to consider how your strengths complement and balance one another.

Portions of this text are copyrighted to Gallup 2020