The issue of learning style entails the assessment of personal differences: every person perceives, understands, generates notions, makes assumptions, and behaves differently. Studies on style as a person’s attribute have been of significance to psychologists for a long time. Some people might be easy to deal with, while others prefer some sections of the learning cycle when compared to others. When it comes to the learning cycle or progression, learners receive information by generating understanding in the new experience (Duff & Duffy 2002).
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With time, Kolb’s conception of a 4-stage process has gone through further development to become two orthogonal elements of learning emanating from the Learning Style Inventory. The Learning Style Questionnaire has been recommended as a substitute for the Learning Style Inventory. The Learning Style Questionnaire was established to depict management trainee’s inclinations and has consequently been employed to a broad scope of subjects, encompassing learners in higher education. The Learning Style Questionnaire is intended to look into the relative strengths of four diverse learning styles that include Reflector, Pragmatist, Activist, and Theorist.
Under the method, scores on the Learning Style Questionnaire were authenticated using 388 participants of learners enlisted in two different modules in an institution of higher education in Scotland. The instrument was applied to all the participating students at the beginning of the academic year. 224 of the participants were undergraduate students pursuing business courses, while 164 were taking medical studies.
The selected sample was demographically varied to be generalized to other Western higher educational situations (Duff & Duffy 2002). The suitability of the four styles was assessed by means of confirmatory factor analysis and the use of SPSS. To assess the association involving performance and learning style, a structural equation model was constructed for the two groups of students using the SPSS version of AMOS v4.0. The model treats the aspects of learning styles as experimental exogenous analyst factors and academic performance as the observed endogenous variable.
The findings established that confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses did not back the occurrence of the two bipolar elements recommended by Kolb and the four learning styles theorized by Mumford and Honey (Duff & Duffy 2002). An item evaluation and pruning effect did not yield the internal constancy reliability to a suitable degree or offer sufficient model fit to the information. The outcomes of a structural equation model failed to ascertain a stable connection involving scores on the four learning styles, two bipolar aspects, and scholarly performance between the samples. The assessments of factorial invariability do not offer support for the generalisability or consistency of the model.
The essential setback with Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model is the failure to unravel knowledge from learning and formation from the process. Though Kolb has come up with scores of the four learning styles, hence operationally distinguishing the formations, no operation or technique for assessing the practices implicit in the structures is offered (Duff & Duffy 2002). The Learning Style Questionnaire is anchored in a model that is not adequately refined to describe the learning that occurs in institutions of higher education. It is delineated with respect to a management trainee’s learning instead of that of learners who are pursuing higher education.
Care should be observed when adopting the Learning Style Questionnaire to choose suitable instructional techniques or classify individual learners. This study affirms that the Learning Style Questionnaire is not an appropriate alternative to the Learning Style Inventory.
Duff, A & Duffy, T 2002, ‘Psychometric properties of honey & Mumford’s learning styles questionnaire (LSQ)’, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 147-163.