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For those of you using the LASSI, are you familiar with the Index of
Learning Styles (ILS) Questionnaire (from Richard Felder, Linda Silverman,
and Barbara Soloman @ NC State University)? If so, I'm interested in your
feedback on the two.

For those unfamiliar with ILS, this is an FREE online instrument that assess
a student's learning style preference in the following areas: active vs.
reflective learners, sensing vs. intuitive learners, visual vs. verbal
learners, and sequential vs. global learners. The instrument itself is made
up of 44 questions and takes about 15 minutes to complete online. Once the
completed questionnaire is submitted, you get  instance feedback with rating
scale indices on each of the above areas. Each index indicates possible
strengths and tendencies toward one domain or the other (e.g., whether you
are more of a sequential learner than a global learner). The inventory
rating also contains learning styles descriptions, as well as a brief
explanation of your results.

 It's important to reiterate the ILS  merely indicates learning style
preferences. What I tend to like about this inventory is when used in a
consultation setting, where learning styles in general are discussed,
students begin to understand that not only are there different learning
styles but also a difference between their learning style (most students are
visual) and an instructor's teaching style (most instructors are verbal).
This discussion helps to explain why some students sit in class, feeling as
if they are the only ones not "getting" the lecture. Once the student has a
idea of the type of information they need to learn, they can then take the
necessary steps to compensate for the difference between their preferred
learning styles and that of the instructor-that is, if they are truly visual
learners, they need to transfer the lecture material to a visual context:
graphics, diagrams, mind maps, etc.

I further understand the controversy, speculation, and  disregard for LS
theory. My sense is that this tool offers a wonderful opportunity to help
students learn something about themselves while starting a provocative
dialogue on the merits of learning.

 sal

 

Sara L. Weertz
Director, Supplemental Instruction
Contact Information <http://www.angelo.edu/dept/si/contacts.html> 



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