Relevance of the onion model: myth or reality in the field of individual differences psychology?
Publication typeWorking paper
Publication Number of pages29
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AbstractTo bring order in the multitude of concepts in the field of individual learning differences Curry (1983) designed the three-layered onion model. As this model provides an interesting way to distinguish related concepts – such as cognitive styles, learning styles, and approaches to studying - theoretically on the basis of their stability versus malleability in learning situations, ample studies build further on this model. However, only few studies have been conducted to empirically test the assumptions of the onion model. We conducted two empirical studies to address this research gap. In the first, cross-sectional study (N = 113), results of path analysis do not show a clear causal path from three concepts belonging to different layers in relation to students’ learning outcomes. In the second, longitudinal study (N = 162), which focused on the stability of two concepts belonging to different layers, no support is found for differences in stability. To conclude, both studies do not provide solid empirical evidence for the conceptual onion model, which warns to be cautious with applying theoretical models in educational practice without empirical support
KeywordPeople Management & Leadership, Human Resource Management, Individual Learning Differences, Test of Onion Model, Stability Versus Malleability
Knowledge Domain/IndustryPeople Management & Leadership
Human Resource Management