Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

A Psychometric Analysis of Reliability and Validity of the Index of Learning Styles (ILS)

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

A Psychometric Analysis of Reliability and Validity of the Index of Learning Styles (ILS)

Article excerpt

Abstract

Prior literature showed that Felder and Silverman learning styles model (FSLSM) was widely adopted to cater to individual styles of learners whether in traditional or Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). In order to infer this model, the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) instrument was proposed. This research aims to analyse the soundness of this instrument in an Arabic sample. Data were integrated from different courses and years. A total of 259 engineering students participated voluntarily in the study. The reliability was analysed by applying internal construct reliability, inter-scale correlation, and total item correlation. The construct validity was also considered by running factor analysis. The overall results indicated that the reliability and validity of perception and input dimensions were moderately supported, whereas processing and understanding dimensions showed low internal-construct consistency and their items were weakly loaded in the associated constructs. Generally, the instrument needs further effort to improve its soundness. However, considering the consistency of the produced results of engineering students irrespective of cross-cultural differences, it can be adopted to diagnose learning styles.

Keywords: The Index of Learning Styles (ILS), reliability, validity, Arabic population

1. Introduction

Psychologists have proposed several learning style models to meet individual needs of learners, connect teaching and learning styles, and avoid using a "one-size-fits-all" teaching approach (Felder & Silverman, 1988; Kolb, 1984; Riding & Cheema, 1991). Learning styles was defined as "characteristic strengths and preferences in the ways they 'learner' take in and process information" (Felder, 1996). The main assumption of learning styles theory is that ignoring individual styles may lead to dropping a course, learner dissatisfaction, and low achievement (Felder & Brent, 2005). On the other hand, empirical studies have not produced conclusive evidence either to confirm or to refute the value of learning styles (Al-Azawei & Lundqvist, 2015; Mayer, 2011). Furthermore, learning styles research is limited by the absence of a valid and reliable measurement to identify this psychological trait (Coffield, Moseley, Hall, & Ecclestone, 2004).

Although several learning style models have been proposed, recent studies indicated that the Felder and Silverman model (Felder & Silverman, 1988) is one of the most dominant learning styles in the area of TEL (Akbulut & Cardak, 2012; Al-Azawei & Badii, 2014; Graf, Viola, & Leo, 2007). This model classifies learning styles into four dichotomies.

· The processing (active/reflective) dimension represents information processing. The active pole means that a learner tends to do something physically and work with group, whereas reflective refers to a learner who prefers to apply analytical approach.

· The perception (sensing/intuitive) dimension represents information perceiving. A learner with a sensing style tends to use his/her senses and prefers facts. An intuitive learner prefers abstract materials and uses innovative approaches in problem solving.

· The input (visual/verbal) dimension refers to information receiving. A learner associated with a visual pole prefers pictorial materials such as pictures, video, animation, flowcharts and so on. A verbal learner tends to prefer written materials or listen to explanation of others.

· The understanding (sequential/global) dimension represents information understanding. The first pole (sequential) means that a learner uses a step by step learning method and cares about all details. Another pole (global), in contrast, includes a learner who tends to make leaps in studying to understand the general picture before looking to details.

In order to infer learning styles in accordance with this model, Felder and Soloman (n.d.) proposed the Index of Learning Styles (ILS). …

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