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A Summary Analysis Of Engineering Students' Interactions With An Online Learning Object In The Context Of Their Learning Styles

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

New Models for Teaching and Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.137.1 - 12.137.14



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Paper Authors


Malgorzata Zywno Ryerson University

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Gosha Zywno, M.Eng. (U. of Toronto), Ph.D. (Glasgow Caledonian U.), is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ryerson University. Dr. Zywno is a recipient of several university, national and international teaching excellence and achievement awards, including the 2005 ASEE Sharon Keillor Award, 2002 3M Teaching Fellowship and 2005 Canadian Engineers’ Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education. Her research interests are in active, collaborative learning with technology. She has authored numerous papers and presentations on engineering education, and is a winner of eight best paper awards, including the 2002 Annual ASEE Conference Best Paper Award. Professor Zywno is a member of ASEE, STLHE, Senior Member of IEEE, and a registered Professional Engineer.

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Mary Frances Stewart

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Frankie Stewart, B.A.Sc. (Queen’s U.), M.Eng. (U. of Toronto), is a Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Ryerson University. Professor Stewart is a recipient of the FEAS Teaching Excellence Award at Ryerson University (2006), of Honourable Mention in the 2005 province-wide competition for the COU Award for Teaching with Technology, and of the Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville, FL (2005). Her research interests are in a cross-section of cognition and technology. Together with Dr. Zywno she is a holder of a nationally funded grant to support their research in engineering education. She is a member of ASEE, SME, and a registered Professional Engineer.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Qualitative Analysis of Engineering Students’ Interactions with an Online Learning Object in the Context of their Learning Styles

Malgorzata S. Zywno and Mary F. Stewart

Ryerson University


This is last in a series of three papers reporting on the results of a research project looking into differences in interactions of engineering students with a learning object. The object in question was a set of interactive online tutorials in introductory Process Control. The research project investigated the effectiveness of this learning tool and identified behavior patterns of engineering students with different learning styles that may affect their learning. The first paper in the series described a collaborative effort involved in developing the award-winning set of online tutorials. The second paper focused on the quantitative analysis of the volunteers’ results, including distributions of learning styles, pre- and post-test scores, and the breakdown of learning gains according to Bloom’s Taxonomy. This concluding paper focuses on the analysis of individual sessions where screen activity was videotaped and the volunteers commented aloud on their thought processes and choices as they navigated their way through the tutorials.


The work of Richard Felder, 2, an acknowledged authority on engineering education, points to a mismatch between learning styles of engineering students and the styles of instruction commonly used in engineering departments. Felder asserts that teaching in a style that is consistently not supportive of the majority of learners may result in poor achievement, increased dropout rates and a loss of diversity among future engineers that would greatly benefit the profession. He suggests a balanced teaching style addressing a wide range of learner preferences as most effective1, 2. In 1988 Felder developed, with help of psychologist Linda Silverman, a learning model that focuses on aspects of learning styles particularly significant in engineering education2, 3 . The model classifies characteristics of the learners along four bipolar dimensions: Perception (Sensing-Intuitive), Input (Visual-Verbal), Processing (Active-Reflective) and Understanding (Sequential-Global). The Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Styles (ILS), a psychometric instrument associated with the model, is freely available online4.

Multimedia and the Internet bring about a potential for dynamic visualizations of engineering concepts, interactivity and asynchronous communications. When implemented in the context of

Zywno, M., & Stewart, M. F. (2007, June), A Summary Analysis Of Engineering Students' Interactions With An Online Learning Object In The Context Of Their Learning Styles Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2378

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015