Barbour, M. K., & Cooze, M. (2004, December). Learning styles and student performance in an e-learning environment. Paper presented at the annual Southern Educational Technology Conference, Fayetteville, AR.
Background Research was conducted with students enrolled in Enterprise Education 3205 through the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation. (CDLI) Students completed the prescribed curriculum solely through e-Learning. 31 of the 44 students completed a learning styles inventory and agreed to the release of their marks.
Purpose of Research In the classroom, we are able to adapt our instructional approach, our methods, even our instructional material. This is much more challenging to accomplish in an e-learning environment. Do e-learning environments, such as the one created by the CDLI, lend themselves to one learning style over another? If they do, what can developers and moderators do to help learners achieve in the environment that they have created?
Research Profile Kolb and Baker Personal Learning Guide Standard learning styles measure (visual, auditory, tactile) Gardner’s multiple intelligences
Personal Learning Guide Students rate sets of words on how well the words describe them. Discriminating Tentative Involved Practical 4 Best characterizes 3 Next best 2 Next best 1 Least characterizes Once the students have rated nine sets, they are asked to add their responses to certain sets together to give them four totals
Personal Learning Guide The four totals are plotted on the chart below to form a kite.
Personal Learning Guide The Accommodative Learning Style - you have the ability to learn primarily from hands-on experience. You probably enjoy carrying out plans and involving yourself in new and challenging experiences. Your tendency may be to act on intuition and "gut feel" rather than careful analysis. When a thoughtful approach does not seem to be working out, you will be quick to discard it and improvise. The Divergent Learning Style - you probably have the ability to view specific situations from many perspectives. For example, you may enjoy brainstorming and small group discussions. You also like to gather information and probably have broad interests. Your tendency may be to watch events rather than participate in them. The Convergent Learning Style - you have the ability to find practical applications for ideas, concepts and theories. In particular you enjoy situations where there is a single or best answer to a question or problem. You may usually assume there is one best answer and use technical analysis to reveal it. You also may usually prefer to deal with technical issues rather than people issues. The Assimilative Learning Style - you have the ability to create theoretical models (ideas that predict outcomes and descriptions of how different factor interact). You most likely enjoy inductive reasoning and distil disparate observations into logical explanations.  David A. Kolb and Richard J. Baker, Personal Learning Guide: A practical guide to increasing your learning from a training program or workshop, (Baker & Company: Dallas, TX, 1979-80), pp. 11-17.
Standard Measure Students were given a statement and asked to give it a ratingI remember information better from lectures with explanations and discussions.I chew gum or snack when I study. 3 Often 2 Sometimes 1 Seldom After students had responded to 24 of these statements, they were asked to write the numbers they selected for each statement into three different columns and total each column.
Standard MeasureVisual Learners - you have to see it to believe it needs to see it to know it strong sense of colour may have artistic ability difficulty with spoken directions over-reaction to sounds trouble following lectures misinterpretation of wordsAuditory Learner - if you hear it, you remember it prefers to get information by listening needs to hear it to know it difficulty following written directions difficulty with reading and writingTactual Learner - if you can touch it with your hands, you will remember it prefers hands-on learning can assemble parts without reading directions difficulty sitting still learns better when physical activity is involved may be very well co-ordinated and have athletic ability  Unknown, "Learning Lab - Learning Styles Evaluation," University of Northwestern Ohio (1998): 3 pages. 08 August 1999 <http://bsd-server.nc.edu/virtcol/ss/learn.html>.
Standard MeasureNumber of Visual Auditory TactilestudentsHighest 69.2% (n=13) 54.7%(n=9) 57.6% (n=13)numberAbove 20 71.3% (n=6) 45.0%(n=1) * 65.7% (n=6)Above 18 65.7% (n=15) 57.2%(n=9) 62.2% (n=16) * Only one respondent
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Students were given a statement and asked to state if it was true or false. If the statement was true sometimes and false sometimes, they were to leave it blank.2. If I am angry or happy, I usually know why.8. I pick up new dance steps quickly. After students had responded to 35 of these statements, they were asked to write an X over the numbers that they had responded “T” to based on the following table: A 9 10 17 22 30 = B 5 7 15 20 25 = C 1 11 14 23 27 = D 8 16 19 21 29 = E 3 4 13 24 28 = F 2 6 26 31 33 = G 12 18 32 34 35 =
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Interpersonal Intelligence - Telecommunications programs; programs which address social issues; programs which include group presentation or decision making; games which require two or more players; TV production team approach Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence - Software requiring alternate input such as joystick, mouse, or touch window; keyboarding and word processing programs; animation programs; programs which allow them to move objects around the screen; science probeware Intrapersonal Intelligence - Computer assisted instruction/ILS labs; instructional games in which the opponent is the computer; programs which encourage self-awareness or build self-improvement skills; any program which allow them to work independently; brainstorming or problem solving software Logical/Mathematical Intelligence - Database and spreadsheet programs; problem solving software; computer programming software; strategy game formats/simulations; calculators; multimedia authoring programs
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence - Programs that combine stories with songs; reading programs which associate letter/sounds with music; programs which allow them to create their own song; constructing presentations using CD audio discs, videodisc player, and barcode program; sing along videodisc programs that display work "karaoke" style Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence - Word processors that allow voice annotations; desktop publishing programs; programs with speech output; programs which encourage them to create poetry, essays, etc.; multimedia authoring; using videodiscs and barcode programs to create presentations; tape recorders; telecommunications/electronic networking Visual/Spatial Intelligence - Draw and paint programs; reading programs that use visual clues such as rebus method or colour coding; programs which allow them to see information as maps, charts, or diagrams (i.e. charting capability of spreadsheet program; multimedia programs; science probeware  Jack Edwards, "Multiple Intelligences and Technology," About Face 10 3 (1995): 4 pages. 08 August 1999 <http://www.firn.edu/~face/about/dec95/mult_int.html>.
Trends and Patterns • Students with the assimilative learning style tend to perform better than students from any of the other three learning styles. • Students with the convergent learning style tend to perform better than students from the divergent and accommodative learning styles.
Trends and Patterns• Students who are visual learners performbetter than students who are tactile learners,who perform better than auditory learners.• While there are few differences in studentperformance based upon Gardner’s multipleintelligences, students who have aptitudes for“Musical-Rhythmic” and “Verbal-Linguistic”appear to be lower than the other fiveintelligences.
Considerations• When teaching in an e-learning environment,instructors should provide more feedback tostudents, particularly those with theaccommodative learning style.• Instructors should also provide additionalopportunities for students to interact in a verbal(e.g., audio or text-based) way.
Considerations• Finally, instructors in an e-learningenvironment should consider allowing studentsto choose to complete more of their work ingroups.• In designing e-learning environments,developers should make sure to include moreaudio items (noting that audio portions of videoclips may not be suitable for auditory learners).
Future Research• Continue present course of research withadditional students in future years.• Consider having students complete thesame course in different content shells thathave learning tools suited to one learningstyle over another.
ReferencesEdwards, Jack. "Multiple Intelligences and Technology." AboutFace 10 3 (1995): 4 pages. 08 August 1999<http://www.firn.edu/~face/about/dec95/mult_int.html>.Kolb, David A. and Baker, Richard J.. Personal Learning Guide:A practical guide to increasing your learning from a trainingprogram or workshop. Baker & Company: Dallas, TX, 1979-80.Unknown. "Learning Lab - Learning Styles Evaluation."University of Northwestern Ohio (1998): 3 pages. 08 August1999 <http://bsd-server.nc.edu/virtcol/ss/learn.html>.
Contact Information Michael Barbour firstname.lastname@example.org Morris Cooze email@example.com Presentation available at: http://www.ncf.ca/~an650