Learning style research has shown that there are more dimensions
to learning than a mere preference for environment or channel. Learning
style can be defined as the set of cognitive, emotional, characteristic
and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators
of how a learner perceives, interacts with, and responds to the
learning environment (Keefe, 1979). Knowing your learning style
and matching it with the correct strategies can result in greater
Dimensions of Learning Styles
The many theories of learning styles found in the literature can
be condensed and examined at four dimensions (Curry, 1987):
- Information Processing,
- Social and Situational Interaction, and
- Instructional Methods.
Identifying Learning Styles
A number of learning style inventories have been developed and
used effectively to determine learners’ preferences and styles.
Some of the prominent instruments include Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
(MBTI), Kolb’s Learning Style Model, and Herrmann Brain Dominance
Instrument (HBDI). However, as mentioned above, there are also many
other theories and models. Here are some instruments that are available
Evaluating Your Learning Style—a learning
style questionnaire offered by Capital Community-Technical College,
with links to scoring, interpretation, and recommendations for improvement—http://ccc.commnet.edu/faculty/~simonds/styles/styles.htm.
Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire—a
44-question instrument developed by Felder and Soloman of North
Carolina State University based on the four dimensions of active/reflective,
sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and sequential/global; with links
to learning style descriptions, and strategies—http://www2.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/ILSdir/ilsweb.html.
Personality Pattern Test—an adaptation of
the MBTI by interCONNECTIONS; the test leads directly to detailed
descriptions of the learner, his/her ideal learning environment,
Learning Styles Resources—one of the many
sites where you can download Brain Works,
a free 20-question software developed by Synergistic Learning Incorporated
to diagnose your learning style according to brain dominance and
a visual/auditory learning preference—http://www.tangischools.org/schools/phs/techno/dayfour.htm.
* All the above web sites were last accessed on 2 November
2001 for the preparation of this paper.
You can use the above resources to help diagnose your learning
style and take up some of their suggestions to make the best use
of your strengths and improve on your weaknesses. The information
provided on how you learn best should also help you determine some
effective strategies of your own. The key is to know your learning
style and match it with the correct strategies for better learning