Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Learning and Instruction


Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Busk

Second Advisor

Robert Burns

Third Advisor

Walter Gmelch


In psychology and education, the visual-verbal conceptual distinction is a widely studied bipolar contrast, and this distinction has been the subject of much debate. There are two main issues: One is a construct-validity issue related to the extent that scores from a test measuring the visual- and verbal-conceptual distinction accurately reflect the construct being measured, and the second one is an issue related to the use of different data analysis methods that collect and analyze the data from the visual and verbal measurements. To help resolve these issues, this study examined 21 individual intercorrelation matrices that were illustrative of the visual and verbal contrast in the learner-preference field. In this secondary data analysis, each of these 21 matrices were reexamined within and between domains using the methodology of a factor analysis. There were two research questions. First, when using a common factor analysis procedure, do studies measuring the visual-verbal learner-preference dichotomy consistently identify the visual and verbal constructs? Second, in studies that do identify the visual-verbal dichotomy using a common factor analysis, to what extent do the two factors correlate with each other? Overall, there were 73 total factors extracted; 17 of these were visual, verbal, or visual-verbal factors: six were visual factors defined independently, one was a verbal factor defined independently, and the other 10 were visual-verbal factors defined on the same factor. There was only one matrix with measures that identified a separate visual and verbal factor in the same matrix. It was concluded that the visual-verbal learner-preference dichotomy was not consistently identified, and the extent to which the visual and a verbal factors correlate could not be addressed. These findings neither provided empirical support for the visual- and verbal-conceptual distinction nor indicated there is evidence to support the visual-verbal learning-preference constructs. Moreover, the uniform data analyses in this study suggest that these findings are not the result of variation in factoring procedures. Rather than classifying students by their learning preference and applying one instructional method tailored to that preference, it may be more beneficial to present information to students with both words and pictures.

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