Assessing the Developmental Instruction Model: An Exploratory Study of Classroom “Fit” Using Environmental Types
To support the instructional process, Knefelkamp advanced the developmental instruction model (DIM) to describe the aspects of academic environments that facilitate the epistemological development of college students, consistent with the Perry scheme. No related measurement tool has been developed for the DIM, which may account for the lack of research on it. Because the four DIM constructs (experiential, diversity, personalization, and structure) seemed consistent with the four dimensions found in environmental type theory (extraversion–introversion, sensing–intuition, thinking–feeling, and judging–perception), its related measure, the Salter Environmental Type Assessment, was used. The assertion that advanced learners begin to recognize these four dimensions was examined in this study of students’ (N = 200) perceptions of classroom "fit” by class standing. As compared to first-year students, advanced undergraduate students in this sample indicated stronger preferences (toward environmental extraversion, intuition, and feeling) for the types of learning environments that would support epistemological development. Findings related to environmental judging–perceiving were mixed, however. The results also suggest that the Salter Environmental Type Assessment may be a workable measure of the basic constructs in the DIM. Implications to college teaching are discussed.