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Assessment of Inverted Classroom Success Based on Felder’s Index of Learning Styles

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Assessment and Outcomes: ERM Roundtable

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.262.1 - 26.262.15



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Paper Authors


Deborah M. Grzybowski Ohio State University

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Dr. Deborah Grzybowski is a Professor of Practice in the Engineering Education Innovation Center and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University. Prior to becoming focused on student success in inverted classrooms in engineering education, her research interests included regulation of intracranial pressure and transport across the blood-brain barrier in addition to various ocular-cellular responses to fluid forces and the resulting implications in ocular pathologies.

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John T. Demel Ohio State University

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Dr, John T. Demel is Professor Emeritus, Engineering Graphics. He earned his B.S.M.E. degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Metallurgy from Iowa State University. He taught at Savannah State College (now - University) and Texas A&M University prior to teaching at Ohio State. He has spent his time at Ohio State working with the first year engineering students and with the Engineering Education Innovation Center. Dr. Demel led the development of the current first year program which includes group design - build projects incorporating planning, management, and documentation.

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Assessment of Inverted Classroom Success Based on Felder’s Index of Learning StylesInverting the classroom is a pedagogical practice that has recently gained significant popularity. Withthe increase in its use, it is essential to understand the impacts of the practice and students’ experiencesin this type of classroom. This pedagogical structure was implemented in a first-year engineering courseat a large Midwestern university to accomplish two major goals: (1) to provide an inclusive learningenvironment in order to accommodate the learning styles of all students through the incorporation ofonline multimedia learning modules to be completed prior to class, and (2) to provide more in-classstudio time with activities designed to increase active learning. The 15-week course covers a widevariety of fundamental engineering topics and laboratory exercises but emphasizes problem solving andcomputer programming in C/C++ and MATLAB. The class met for four 125-minute sessions per weekin classrooms with studio-style seating arrangements in groups of four with a desktop computer for eachseat. In this research project, we asked the evidence-based practice question “Does student achievementincrease when learning style as measured by the Felder Index correlates to actual preferred preparatorymaterial style?”While it has gained recent popularity, the inverted classroom has been used in some form or another forapproximately the past 15 years. This has been partially brought about by the availability of varioustechnologies, but also by the realization that moving content out of the classroom provided more face-to-face faculty time for constructivist learning experiences. The theoretical framework for this study is touse Felder’s Index of learning styles as a basis to compare to quantitative measurements of time on taskfor each style of preparatory material (student-reported). For this work, the preferred individual learningstyle as measured by the Felder Index will be correlated with assignment and exam grades and thestudent-reported time on task by preparatory material style. Preparatory material types presented to thestudents include videos, readings and online quizzes which were directed at the lower Bloom’sTaxonomy levels of remembering and understanding. Tutorials and in-class activities were targeted atthe higher Bloom’s Taxonomy levels of application, analysis and evaluation. Assessments were createdto test comprehension of the preparatory materials and in-class assignments were created to apply andanalyze the content actively during class to reinforce concepts.Data have been collected for the 2013 and 2014 academic years on over 400 first-year honors students.Preliminary analysis show a student population with normal distributions on the active-reflective,sensing-intuitive, and sequential-global Felder Learning Styles scales and an extremely skewed visual-verbal distribution favoring visual learners with less than 5% of the total population self-rated asmoderate to strong verbal learners. We report on a comprehensive regression analysis conducted on theFelder Learning Styles scales, assignment preparation time, and course performance. These resultsprovide insights into significant predictors of student success based on learning style and curriculumtype. The ultimate goal is to provide appropriate preparatory course materials to create a successfullearning environment for all learning styles.

Grzybowski, D. M., & Demel, J. T. (2015, June), Assessment of Inverted Classroom Success Based on Felder’s Index of Learning Styles Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23601

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