Please help. The Index of Learning Styles has been accessible at no cost to non-commercial users since 1996. I have been frequently urged to charge for accessing it, but I created it in the hope that it would be useful to students and teachers around the world and didn’t want lack of money to be an obstacle to using it. Its use has grown faster than I ever imagined possible, however, and I now spend an inordinate amount of time on maintenance and support.
Most other learning styles instruments cost $10 per user or more. I still intend to keep the ILS free to non-commercial users, but if you have found it useful—especially if you have administered it to multiple users such as your students or subjects in a research study you are conducting—I would be grateful if you could make a modest donation to help support it. Many thanks.
Sincerely, Richard Felder
The Index of Learning Styles is an on-line survey instrument used to assess preferences on four dimensions (active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and sequential/global) of a learning style model formulated by Richard M. Felder and Linda K. Silverman. The instrument was developed and validated by Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman. Users answer 44 a-b questions and submit the survey, and their four preferences are reported back to them immediately to be copied or printed out. The results are not stored: when the report window is closed,the results are irretrievably lost.
ILS users should be aware of an important point. The survey results provide an indication of the respondent’s learning preferences and an even better indication of the preference distribution of a group of respondents (such as students in a class), but they should not be over-interpreted. A student’s learning style profile provides an indication of possible strengths and tendencies or habits that might lead to difficulty in academic settings. The profile does not reflect a student’s suitability or unsuitability for a particular subject, discipline, or profession. Such labeling is at best misleading, and can be harmful if the student uses the label as justification for a major shift in curriculum or career choice.
The following resources are available for viewing and (except for the first one) downloading.
- ILS questionnaire. The online version of the ILS.
- “Learning Styles and Strategies.” A four-page handout that briefly explains the ILS results.
- Frequently asked questions. Responses to frequently asked questions about the ILS, including questions about its origin, reliability and validity, availability for use in teaching and research, and how businesses may license it.
- Descriptions and validation studies of the ILS.
(1) “Applications, Reliability, and Validity of the Index of Learning Styles,” by R. Felder and J. Spurlin.
(2) “A Contribution to Validation of Score Meaning for Felder-Soloman’s Index of Learning Styles,” by M. Zywno.
(3) “A Psychometric Study of the Index of Learning Styles,” by T. Litzinger, S. Lee, J. Wise, and R. Felder.
Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to access these files. It can be downloaded free from www.adobe.com.
- Peer review of the Index of Learning Styles in MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching).
- “Learning and Teaching Styles in Engineering Education,” Engr. Education, 78(7), 674-681 (1988). The article that originally defined the Felder-Silverman model and identified teaching practices that should meet the needs of students with the full spectrum of styles. The paper at the above link is preceded by a 2002 preface that states and explains changes in the model that have been made since 1988.
- “Understanding Student Differences.” J. Engr. Education, 94(1), 57-72 (2005). An exploration of differences in student learning styles, approaches to learning (deep, surface, and strategic), and levels of intellectual development, with recommended teaching practices to address all three categories.
- “Are Learning Styles Invalid? (Hint: No!).” On-Course Newsletter, September 27, 2010. A response to claims that no evidence justifies taking learning styles into account when designing instruction.
- Additional information and references on learning styles.
- Richard Felder’s home page. Links to Dr. Felder’s education-related papers, handouts for students, and information about workshops.