Learning Styles: A Survey of Adult Learning Style Inventory Models
Leslie K. Hickcox
This chapter will offer a review of several major learning style inventories. The majority of the survey will focus on the North American adult populations throughout the late 1970s, 1980s and mid-1990s with regard to learning styles. "Adult" will refer to those 18 and older. Learning preferences and learning styles will also be used interchangeably. A description and comparison among North American, European, and Australian research and learning style inventories will be presented. Two concluding sections will present some learning style research on various ethnic populations and the relevance of inventory information in reference to the assessment of the quality of instruction and training.
As an adult educator it is important to understand criteria for selecting appropriate inventories for the student or client population. The basic characteristics that indicate better quality inventories will be presented. This will be followed by discussions on the comparison among learning style models and the strengths and weaknesses of learning style research. The chapter will offer a description of inventories within three major learning style categories: (1) instructional and environmental learning preferences, (2) information processing learning preferences, and (3) personality related learning preferences. These three categories were initially discussed by Curry ( 1987). Learning style studies that focus on various ethnic populations will also be described. The chapter will conclude with a discussion on the relevance of learning style inventory information with regard to assessment of the quality of instruction and training.