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A Study Of The Reliability And Validity Of The Felder Soloman Index Of Learning Styles

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Engineering Education Research and Assessment II

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.95.1 - 10.95.16



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Paper Authors

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Sang Ha Lee

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John Wise

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Thomas Litzinger

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Richard Felder

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Study of the Reliability and Validity of the Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Styles

Thomas A. Litzinger, Sang Ha Lee, and John C. Wise Penn State University

Richard M. Felder North Carolina State University


A study of the reliability and validity of Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Styles (ILS) was performed based on data collected from students at Penn State. Students from three colleges— engineering, liberal arts, and education—were invited to participate in the study in an effort to broaden the range of learning styles represented in the test sample. The instrument was administered on-line and over 500 students completed it. The results were subjected to psychometric analysis to investigate reliability and validity and to extract trends in the data with respect to field of study and gender.


The Index of Learning Styles©, created by Felder and Soloman,1 is designed to assess preferences on four dimensions of a learning style model formulated by Felder and Silverman.2 The ILS consists of four scales, each with 11 items: sensing-intuitive, visual-verbal, active-reflective, and sequential-global. Felder and Spurlin3 summarize the four scales as follows:

• “sensing (concrete, practical, oriented toward facts and procedures) or intuitive (conceptual, innovative, oriented toward theories and underlying meanings); • visual (prefer visual representations of presented material, such as pictures, diagrams, and flow charts) or verbal (prefer written and spoken explanations); • active (learn by trying things out, enjoy working in groups) or reflective (learn by thinking things through, prefer working alone or with one or two familiar partners); • sequential (linear thinking process, learn in incremental steps) or global (holistic thinking process, learn in large leaps).”

The Web-based version of the ILS is taken over 100,000 times per year and has been used in a number of published studies.3 Among those many hits are a number from Penn State faculty members involved in faculty development workshops and Penn State students enrolled in a course to prepare undergraduates to serve as teaching interns. Use of the ILS at Penn State over a number of years and interest in the effect of its dichotomous structure on reliability led to the design and implementation of the study reported here. The primary goals of the study were to

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Lee, S. H., & Wise, J., & Litzinger, T., & Felder, R. (2005, June), A Study Of The Reliability And Validity Of The Felder Soloman Index Of Learning Styles Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15321

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