Number. 8 © CDTL 2001
Discover Your Learning Style
Christina Low
Former Publications Officer, CDTL
Chandrama Acharya
Former Research Assistant, CDTL

Learning Styles

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 academic achievement.

Dimensions of Learning Styles

The many theories of learning styles found in the literature can be condensed and examined at four dimensions (Curry, 1987):

  1. Personality,
  2. Information Processing,
  3. Social and Situational Interaction, and
  4. 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 online:

Evaluating Your Learning Style—a learning style questionnaire offered by Capital Community-Technical College, with links to scoring, interpretation, and recommendations for improvement—

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—

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, and recommendations—

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—

* 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 success.


Curry, L. (1987). Integrating Concepts of Cognitive or Learning Style: A Review with Attention to Psychometric Standards. Ottawa, ON: Canadian College of Health Service Executives.

Keefe, J.W. (1979). ‘Learning Style: An Overview’. In NASSP’s Student Learning Styles: Diagnosing and Prescribing Programs. Reston, VA: National Association of Secondary School Principals, 1–17.

Capital Community-Technical College. (1998). Evaluating Your Learning Style. (last accessed: 2 November 2001).

Felder, Richard, M. (1996). Matters of Style. (last accessed: 8 May 2003).

interCONNECTIONS. (2000). Personality Pattern Test.

Soloman, Barbara A. & Felder, Richard M. (1999). Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire. North Carolina State University. (last accessed: 8 May 2003).

Tangipahoa Parish Schools System. (2001). Learning Styles Resources. (last accessed: 8 May 2003).

Universal Educator, LLC. (2000). A Catalog of Learning Styles Theories. (last accessed: 2 November 2001).


Back to Top