Learning Style Dimensions and Professional Characteristics of Academic Librarians

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College & Research Libraries

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Do librarians with different characteristics, such as type of work responsibilities or age, have different learning styles? The authors analyzed results from over 1,500 responses to a version of the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) questionnaire based on the Felder-Silverman Learning Styles model. This model consists of eight dimensions paired on four scales: Active / Reflective; Sensing / Intuitive; Visual / Verbal; and Sequential / Global. In addition to their scores on the ILS questionnaire, respondents were also asked about demographic and professional characteristics. Statistically significant differences in learning style scores were found to exist between librarians with different types of position responsibilities. In particular, for three out of four scales, catalogers have statistically different learning styles than other librarian groups. Recognition of different learning styles and thoughtful integration of appropriate teaching styles may improve workplace interpersonal communication, enhance professional development and staff training, and strengthen teaching.


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