The Learning Styles Index (LSI) was designed as a standardized measure of a broad range of learning style behaviours, categorized into scales that parallel the 8 MBTI preferences (Extraverted, Introverted, Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, Feeling, Judging, Perceiving). It was theorized that: learners would use strategies that correspond with their 4 MBTI preferences; successful learners would use a wider range of preparation behaviors; and some strategies would be predictive of success. It was also hypothesized that if learner’s preferences were validated and learners understood what was necessary to succeed, they would more likely adopt strategies contrary to their own preferences. The instrument was to serve both as an assessment and teaching tool for professionals and as a measure of change following intervention.
The Learning Styles Index is different and unique because it is theory based, incorporates personality and learning styles, and has been subjected to rigorous statistical analysis. The LSI appears to be both a good teaching and counseling tool and is applicable for use in a wide variety of programs and learning situations such as:
• Teaching aid in learning and study skills programs
• For use in introducing individuals to different learning styles
• Counselling and basic planning tool to help individual learners improve their learning
• Training instrument for trainers and educators.
The Learning Style Index is based on the Exam Preparation Inventory. The LSI isolates those aspects of the EPI that look directly at learning as opposed to aspects directly related to preparing for exams.
The final version of the LSI contains 56 items and is untimed.
Energizing Environment – The first attitude identifies the type of environment that an individual finds energizing. An Extravert is energized when he/she is involved in and interacting with the external world of experience. On the other hand Introverts are energized by the process of reflecting on ideas in their inner world. When either an Introvert or an Extravert has to function for an extended period of time in the opposite domain, they will most likely feel drained of energy and wish to recoup by retreating to their preferred realm.
Environmentally Interactive – Items in the EI scale reflect a person’s need to be energized by environmental stimuli. Communicating and discussing learning material with peers, background noises from stereo music, television, family activity, and learner activity in the surrounding areas all qualify as environmental stimuli.
Environmentally Reflective – Items in the ER scale reflect a person’s need to minimize any external stimuli that might distract and interfere with their concentration and ability to focus internally on the learning material.
Gathering and Using Information – The 2nd set of paired scales identifies the type of information that you focus on and how you approach learning and understanding the information. The two scales are important in that they reflect whether you focus on learning factual, practical information (FP) or theoretical, abstract information (AT).
Factual Practical – The items in this scale indicate that an individual focuses on learning the facts and details and on how they can be practically applied.
Abstract Theoretical – The items in the AT scale indicate that a person focuses on course content that is abstract and theoretical and attempts to identify the underlying pattern of relationship.
Making Decisions – The third set of paired scales, Analytical Logical (AL) and Personally Valued (PV), identifies two groups of strategies, which reflect two different processes for deciding how to order and organize the learning material. The strategies in the AL scale indicate that you analyze and logically organize the material. The PV strategies indicate that you use your personal values and likes and dislikes as a basis for deciding what to learn.
Analytical Logical – This scale consists of items which indicate that you approach learning material in an objective manner and attempt to make logical sense out of it.
Personally Valued – The items in the PV scale indicate that an individual decides what material to learn on the basis of what he/she personally values and on what he/she likes or dislikes. An individual may allow his/her concern for and valuing of a relationship to have a higher priority than learning.
Organization and Time Management – The fourth set of paired scales, Organized Planful (OP) and Open-Ended Spontaneous (OE), identify the approach to organizing and managing your learning time. The strategies in the first scale, OP, describe an approach that is structured, organized and planned, while the OE scale describes one that is more spontaneous, unstructured and open-ended.
Organized Planful – Individuals who report the frequent use of these strategies could be said to be highly organized and use their time very efficiently.
Open-ended Spontaneous – People who score high on this scale say that they rely on the urgency of the test date to motivate them to study.