Felder and Silverman's Index of Learning Styles and Honey and Mumford's

Learning Styles Questionnaire: How do they compare and do they predict

academic performance?



N. van Zwanenberg and L.J. Wilkinson, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, Newcastle, UK

A. Anderson, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, UK



The background to this study lies in research into the use of biographical data to measure personal attributes such as personality, vocational interests and cognitive capacities and preferences. Samples of engineering and business students at undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience levels at two UK universities completed the ILS (N=284) or the LSQ (N=182) and a biodata questionnaire. Descriptive statistics of the samples are provided.

Broad psychological aspects of the two learning style instruments are examined and compared. Attention is focussed on the bi-polar nature of the ILS scales. The Active-Reflective scale of the ILS and the Activist and Reflector scales of the LSQ are compared using biographical data. Psychometric properties of the instruments, including factor structure, internal reliability and inter-scale correlation are analysed. Potential limitations are commented on, in particular those related to the construct validity and relatively low internal reliability of the ILS scales (alpha = 0.41 to 0.65). These compare with alphas of 0.59 to 0.74 for the LSQ. A circumplex arrangement of the LSQ is proposed.

A summary of results from both instruments is provided. The relationships between academic performance results and scores on each of the two instruments are examined and reported on. The general lack of significant correlations between learning style scores and performance in these samples is discussed and limitations are commented on.

Conclusions are drawn relating to the activity-centred nature of learning styles. Tentative proposals for augmenting the circumplex are made.


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