Assessment of Learning Styles

First and foremost college is designed to reinforce skills already learned, to help one develop new skills, and to provide experience to apply both old and new skills in a work situation. However, not everyone learns in the same manner.

Dunn and Dunn's Learning Style Model focuses on environmental, emotional, sociological, and psychological stimuli. As an example, if one took environmental factors into consideration noise level, lighting, room temperature, and design of the learning setting might all be important factors in determining how one learns best. In contrast, sociological considerations in a study situation might be viewed as either positive or negative depending on the individual. Some study best alone, others in pairs, and still others in-small groups of peers. On the other hand, some need adult supervision to study effectively while some take advantage of all the varied approaches to study.

While Dunn and Dunn's Learning Style Model is certainly significant, the use of type theory in identifying learning styles through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can be particularly insightful to the learner. If you have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and remember your four letter type, you can use these findings to better understand your learning style. Should you not be familiar with the Myers-Briggs, you can make arrangements to take it through the Counseling Center by scheduling an appointment with a counselor (call the Counseling Center at 765-285-1736). An alternative would be to complete the brief Keirsey Temperament Sorter found in Please Understand Me (Keirsey and Bates). A copy of this reference can be found in the Resource Room (Lucina Hall, Room 310-C).

While the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is not comprehensive, it incorporates strengths that lend themselves to understanding styles. Some learning styles measures assess how one is behaving, but the Myers-Briggs looks at personality type as a means for understanding learning styles. If a student is experiencing problems learning new material in a course, it may be because the teaching style in the course is not compatible with the natural learning style of the individual. In contrast, if a student uses one style to the exclusion of other learning styles, he or she may overlook strategies that lend themselves better to the task at hand. The following table adapted from Introduction to Type in College (Ditiberio and Hammer) may be helpful in understanding how the Myers-Briggs functions contribute to learning styles coupled with some insight into why some courses frustrate and seem uninspiring:

(Draws Energy From Outer World)

(Draws Energy From Inner World)

Learns best in class where there is discussion

Prefers lecture classes where information can be absorbed and processed

If discussion is lacking in class, form a study group outside of class to discuss; debate; share ideas

Prefers to study alone but needs to expand horizons by getting involved in at least one study group

Study material alone before and after study groups to re-process information

Needs quiet for concentration with no interfering background noise

May like background noise when studying alone such as music, TV

Needs to let others know they are interested in a class by participating

May need to develop more effective reading and writing skills

Identify with faculty who give clear, well-organized lectures

When study becomes frustrating, may need to talk to relieve the anxiety

May need instruction in public speaking

(Gather Verified Facts)

(Generate Ideas And Hunches)

Linear and convergent thinkers -- focus on facts

Global and divergent thinkers

Like demonstrations and step-by-step approaches

Grasp essential points and broad ideas

Interested in application

Like and challenged by complexity

Prefer faculty who provide clear directions for assignments

Identify with faculty who encourage independent thinking

Trust material presented in lectures and texts

Rely on imagination to go beyond the facts

Tend to memorize

Can devise directions and approaches when completing assignments

(Objective Decision-Making)

(Values-Oriented Decision-Making)

Important to learn to organize materials in a logical way in classes where faculty do not present in that way

Very important to be able to relate course material to you personally

Don't dismiss courses as insignificant if they do not follow an organized format

Do not dismiss class if faculty member does not establish personal rapport with you

Remember not all course assignments lend themselves to a logical format

Will be most motivated if your heart is in your work -- discover ways to value each class

Integrating your values in courses that are not organized in the way you learn best can help maintain interest

Like to please faculty even in small ways

Prefer material to be studied be objective in nature

Learn best when you are valued and appreciated



Since you tend to measure your learning by the completion of tasks, keep a log to track accomplishments

May have difficulty in courses because few faculty prefer perceiving function

Be alert to comments or feedback so you can improve your future endeavors

You might consider majors that are experiential in nature, so you can cultivate your flexible nature

Outline main points of course content rather than just trying to memorize

Prefer faculty who are entertaining and inspire you to be creative

Like to plan work well in advance

Like informal problem-solving approaches in courses

You tend to be motivated when you can attain closure on an assignment or project

Highly structured courses make you feel "trapped" and restricted because of rigid deadlines to complete assignments