Institute of Learning Styles Research

Multi-Modal Paired Associates Learning Test (MMPALT-III)

Learning styles can be measured through the administration of the Multi-Modal Paired Associates Learning Test (MMPALT-III). The instrument is a performance test that measures recall of paired information in each of the seven perceptual modalities. The learning theory deals with how individuals learn based on the senses. This "sense" learning style test has been tested and used on ages ranging from elementary students to the elderly. The objective of this assessment is to determine which modality(ies) an individual predominantly used to extract information from the environment. The seven ways of obtained information include print, aural, interactive, visual, haptic, kinesthetic, and olfactory. The MMPALT-III is administered by trained testers who are certified by the Institute for Learning Styles Research.

Why Paired Associates?

The center of MMPALT is the Paired Associates concept, and paired-associates is indeed the center piece of this testing procedure. The original procedure for testing perceptual learning styles was developed by Darrell Gilley. As others followed, they continued to use the paired associates concept. Each modification of the MMPALT required a review of the paired associates idea. Knowledge of the history and origin of paired associates testing is essential to an understanding of the MMPALT.

Paired Associates testing was first used by Hermann Ebbinghaus in his 1879-1880 research into his own learning and memory. His 1885 monograph, published in German, was later released with the English title Memory. In addition to his paired associates contribution to this current research, he was also the first to use nonsense syllables. His results, reports, and procedures involving rote learning and memory have been altered very little over the years. As Robert H. Wozniak states: ... "surprisingly little has been learned about rote learning and retention that was not already known to Eppinghaus."

Wozniak, Robert H. (1999); Classics in Psychology, 1855-1914: Historical Essays. Bristol, UK: Thoemmes Press. (Reprinted in: Classics in the History of Psychology: An Internet Resource developed by Christopher D. Green, York University, Toronto, Ontario.

Learn More

For more information on the MMPALT-III, its testing process, or how to become a certified tester, contact the Institute for Learning Styles Research ( or call (865) 982-6253.