Dissonance in students' regulation of learning processes

Jan D. Vermunt, Nico Verloop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, dissonance in students' way of learning is explored from a regulation of learning perspective. First, consonant patterns of interrelations among learning elements are sketched. These patterns were identified in studies with university students by means of a diagnostic instrument, the Inventory of Learning Styles (ILS), that assesses four learning components: cognitive processing strategies, metacognitive regulation strategies, mental models of learning, and learning orientations. Consonant patterns of linkages among these components result in four qualitatively different ways of learning or learning styles: undirected, reproduction-directed, meaning-directed and application-directed learning. Next, several studies that used the ILS as a research instrument were examined for indications of dissonant patterns of interrelations among these learning components. The students in these studies ranged from early secondary school to adult university students. Five phenomena of dissonance could be identified: lack of differentiation within learning components, lack of integration between learning components, incompatibility of learning strategies, models and orientations, missing learning style elements, and a lack of distinct application-directed learning. These phenomena are described and documented. Finally, the results are discussed in relation to other recent studies on dissonant study orchestrations and in terms of their practical meaning. A developmental explanation for the occurrence of some manifestations of dissonance is offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-87
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Dissonance
  • Learning strategies
  • Learning styles
  • Self-regulation
  • Student learning


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