Rita & Kenneth Dunn Learning Style Instrument

Rita and Kenneth Dunn and their associate Gary Price advocated the placement of students in special programs based on their preferred learning style as opposed to the more typical measures such as IQ. According to Bonham (1987), Dunn, Dunn, and Price advocated the use of the Learning Style Inventory (LSI) to forestall malpractice suits when Public Law 94-142 required an Individual Education Program. The LSI developed in 1978 by the Dunns and Gary Price consisted of 100 true-false questions which identified 24 elements of learning. Accordin to Maier (1986), the Dunns report a number of significant correlations for learning style,

The Dunns and Price developed two instruments; the LSI for children in grades 3-12 and the Productivity Environmental Preference Survey (PEPS) for adults originally published in 1979. The LSI's principle use has been to prescribe individual learning approaches to match student preference in specific areas. The PEPS is a 100-item self-report questionnaire of four sociological elements (immediate environment, emotionality, sociological needs, and physical needs) with a five-point, agree-disagree Likert scale. A limited amount of literature is available on the PEPS.

A number of problems are associated with the theory of matching learning methods to styles and the PEPS instrument. There is an obvious absence f theory to support the instrument and to define the elements. The authors also employ circular reasoning to validate the instrument. Reliability and validity evidence in the literature are limited. The lack of research details, tendency to continually site the same references, and instances in which the PEPS instrument interpretation is expanded without explanation, add to the criticism of the instrument (Bonham, 1987).

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Peter L. Heineman
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