The Relationships of Learning Style Balance and Learning Dimensions to Self-Directed Learning Propensity Among Adult Learners

Sarah Tullos Hutto


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships of learning style characteristics to self-directed learning propensity among adult learners. The learning style characteristics investigated were learning style balance as measured by a scoring method developed by Mainemelis, Boyatzis, and Kolb (2002) and learning style dimensions as measured by the Kolb Learning Style Inventory (LSI). The Oddi Continuous Learning Instrument (OCLI) was used to measure self-directed learning propensity. A questionnaire was used to collect descriptive information about the participants for age, gender, years of professional work experience, and graduate degree program in the categories of business, education, health, and other. The subjects were adult graduate students enrolled in a public, comprehensive university in the southeastern United States. Pearson product moment correlations at the .05 significance level were used to analyze the data. The findings in this study indicate that learning style balance is not significantly related to self-directed learning propensity. However, self-directed learning propensity was found to be significantly related to the transformation learning dimension (active-reflective) in the direction of the reflective mode. No significant relationship was found between the prehension learning dimension (abstract-concrete) and self-directed learning. An ancillary finding was that age and gender were significantly related to self-directed learning. Females and respondents in the age category 46-55 scored significantly higher on the OCLI than did males and respondents in three other age groups.