A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Learning Styles: Field Dependency

Am I Field Independent or Field Dependent?

Please check next to the items that describe you.

_____    1.  I like to study alone.
_____    2.  I study with friends or in a group.
_____    3.  I like to study in a quiet place.
_____    4.  I enjoy my studies and do not need any outside motivation to study.
_____    5.  I am not overly motivated to study unless I have deadlines to meet.
_____    6.  I tend to procrastinate.
_____    7.  I am usually prepared.
_____    8.  I prefer teachers who provide careful course outlines and objectives.
_____    9.  I prefer teachers who encourage class discussion and activities
_____    10. I prefer teachers who use lectures and textbook reading as a method of teaching.
_____    11. I enjoy classes that have class discussion and group activities.

Statements 1, 3, 4, 7, and 10, above indicate Field Independent characteristics. 
All other statements indicate field dependent preference.

Field Dependent Learners

  • Definition: You tend to rely on structure and on receiving direction.
  • Basic Teaching Style: Instructors who give explicit direction, assignments, and guidelines.
  • Potential Pitfall: Since you are so reliant on direction, you will need to build a strong support system. Be sure to have a strong source of emotional support. Without a strong support system, you will tend to be overwhelmed by stress, lose confidence, and get into academic difficulty.
  • Potential Advantage: With good organization, direction, and support systems, you can do very well in school.

Field Independent Learners

Definition: Tend to prefer autonomy; you like direction your own learning.
Best Teaching Style: Instructors whose teaching style is not too structured and which allows students several options.
Potential Pitfall: Doing everything your way can cost you incomplete or incorrect assignments.  Learn to respond to explicit directions and course requirements.
Potential Advantage: If you learn to distinguish between what you know and what you need to learn you are at an advantage, because you are a self-starter who needs minimal support from others.

Adapted by Susan M. Hice, Ph.D; from:  Laskey, Marcia L. an Paula W. Gibson, College Study Strategies, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, 1997.