KAI Used With Architectural & Design Students

by Robert Alan Black

I conducted a study involving University of Georgia students. The data for two groups of 50 or more students are worth reporting separately.

  • One group of 50 majors in Landscape Architecture had a range between 61 and 137 with a mean of 99.1
  • The other group of 178 majors in Interior Design had a range of 58 to 136 with a mean of 98.2
  • In neither case, as expected from A-I theory, was there a significant correlation with their grades

However, analysis of student grades in relation to KAI means and scores, comparative visual analysis of student products with products of students not in the study and review of faculty observations of the subjects, all showed that knowledge of a student’s KAI score was greatly helpful in developing teaching and training strategies. Therefore, the KAI can be used to aid a teacher in planning for improved quality of production from these students. It seems then that although level and style are in general not correlated, there may be level gains by use of knowledge of A-I theory and its KAI as an outcome of better management and counselling.

Here is the summary of the experience my colleagues and I gained:

Observations and Recommendations

  • May the KAI be used to determine potential future occupations for a subject? It is this author’s opinion that the answer is distinctly no. A review of the means of the reviews total of 303 subjects representing twelve different college majors (the other 10 groups were smaller than 50 and so not detailed here) shows that there was not as much as a standard deviation between any of the groups
  • This combined with the author’s experience as a counsellor, employer and educator causes the author to recommend that the reader refrain from using personality assessments to determine the selection of college majors or their future occupations. Rather I recommend such instruments be used to counsel individuals in their approaches to college majors and future professions and probable skills that will need to be developed, keeping in mind there may be infinite ways of exploiting one’s style and skills, as well as learning better coping skills and widening one’s skills. Also, it must be remembered that most jobs have clear sub-groups with a difference range of jobs that, between them, suit all styles
  • The KAI is extremely useful as a screening device to determine the heterogeneous or homogeneous nature of a group. Confirmation of this observation has been obtained from all those faculty involved in the study with subjects from the twelve separate majors
  • The KAI may be used to pre-determine the need for narrow or wide range approaches to teaching or management. Also whether or not potential difficulties may arise between individuals when they are teamed together on projects
  • Use the KAI to test for the group’s general approach to learning
  • The KAI is useful as a diagnostic tool for counselling individuals. The author has found the KAI extremely helpful in breaking down barriers between counsellor and counselee. So, use the KAI to screen employees or students prior to meetings that are scheduled for counselling
  • The KAI can be helpful in the training and teaching of individuals for the purpose of maximising their array of potential. The study with 303 college students shows this to be especially true for the individuals who fall within the areas of the population that represent two and three standard deviations away from the relevant mean. In the groups representing the greatest deviation from the norm the proportion of higher grades was much higher with the absence of average grades of C. The author finds that the evidence indicates that the more extreme adaptors and innovators who succeed in college do so at a higher level than the general group, represented by a narrower (approximately one standard deviation) range. More serious work is needed to test this observation

Conclusion

Being primarily more a “searcher” than a “researcher” the author has assembled these thoughts and observations for the purpose of debate and to encourage much more research with the KAI. The KAI has shown to have widespread usage for many of the users of it. What is needed now is more research in the private sectors, more application of its use, and much more joint usage with other, carefully selected measures. The more managers, trainers and teachers and counsellors can learn about the individuals they work with the greater can be their successes. Finally, the more individuals can learn about themselves the greater the chance they will be able to capitalise upon their potentials.