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Effects Of Supplemental Learning Opportunities Designed To Engage Different Learning Styles

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

ERM Potpourri

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

13.474.1 - 13.474.11

DOI

10.18260/1-2--3725

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3725

Download Count

126

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Paper Authors

biography

Kay C Dee Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Kay C Dee is an Associate Professor of Applied Biology and Biomedical Engineering, and the Founding Director of the Center for the Practice and Scholarship of Education at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She is primarily responsible for the experimental design and analyses reported in this paper. Her educational research interests include learning styles and student evaluations of teaching. She has received a number of honors for her teaching, including the opportunity to serve as the 2003 Fellow at the National Effective Teaching Institute.

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biography

Allen White Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Allen White is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; he co-developed and co-taught the kinesthetic active supplemental learning opportunities for this project. Allen’s educational research interests include engaging kinesthetic learners and project-based learning. Allen has six years of industrial experience at Honda of America Manufacturing and Honda R & D North America.

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Glen Livesay Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Glen Livesay is an Associate Professor of Applied Biology and Biomedical Engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; he co-developed and co-taught the kinesthetic active supplemental learning opportunities for this project. Glen’s educational research interests include student learning styles and the statistical evaluation of assessment instruments. He has received an NSF CAREER award, and served as the 2006 Fellow at the National Effective Teaching Institute.

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Phillip Cornwell Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Phil Cornwell is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; he developed and taught the classroom problem-solving supplemental learning opportunities for this project and has been instrumental in establishing the Rose-Hulman Center for the Practice and Scholarship of Education. Phil’s research interests include structural dynamics, structural health monitoring, and undergraduate engineering education. He has received the Rose-Hulman Outstanding Teacher Award and the SAW Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award.

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biography

Don Richards Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Don Richards is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Don led the coordinated efforts to establish the integrated sophomore engineering curriculum at Rose-Hulman, authored the notepack used as the ES201 course textbook (course website: http://www.rose-hulman.edu/~richards/courses/es201/index.htm), and has been instrumental in establishing the Rose-Hulman Center for the Practice and Scholarship of Education. Don’s educational research interests include quantitative problem-solving skills and faculty development. He has received the Charles E. MacQuigg teaching award at Ohio State University.

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

Effects of Supplemental Learning Opportunities Designed to Engage Different Learning Styles

Abstract

We provided a series of one-hour supplemental learning opportunities (SLOs) outside of, but coordinated with, a sophomore-level engineering problem-solving course. The SLOs were designed to engage different aspects of active/real-world learning style preferences by adopting one of two approaches: 1) a structured and engaging classroom lecture environment with on- paper, problem-solving exercises, or 2) a hands-on, kinesthetically-active laboratory environment with integrated on-paper, problem-solving exercises. Pre- and post-SLO assessments revealed that students learned from both types of SLOs. Analysis of course exam grades revealed that students who attended one type of SLO did not consistently outperform students who attended the other type of SLO. Students whose preferences for sensory learning (as indicated by their scores on the Index of Learning Styles) were most strongly matched by the style of their SLO group (i.e., strongest sensory preferences attending kinesthetically active SLOs, and least sensory preferences attending classroom active SLOs) performed better on course exams than students with moderate sensory learning preferences attending either SLO group, and better than students whose preferences for sensory learning were least matched by the style of their SLO group. In some cases, the observed performance differences were statistically significant, although the mean grade point averages of students in the strongest, moderate, and least-matched groups were not statistically significant. Further analysis should help reveal to what degree student performance was related to learning style and SLO style match as opposed to other factors.

Introduction

The idea of using varied teaching styles in order to engage multiple learning styles in order to improve student learning is firmly grounded in theory1, 2, and has caused us to consider carefully how we teach ES201 (“Conservation and Accounting Principles”), the foundational engineering course at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. This course teaches a systems, modeling, and accounting approach to engineering problem-solving, and so emphasizes both mathematical skills and physical insight. Because the course has no hands-on laboratory component, we wondered if there were ways to help our students better gain the physical insights embedded in the course learning objectives. We also wondered if we were adequately engaging the learning styles of students who learn best by actively doing real-world things.

The literature generally supports the idea that using various forms of active learning will increase student engagement and promote learning (for an overview, see reference 3, for a representative study, see references 4 and 5). Just as there are many instructional approaches that can be considered “active learning” (see reference 3), there are many inventories of learning styles that address various aspects of the broad term “active learning.” For example, the VARK guide to learning styles6, 7 describes a broad “Kinesthetic” learning style as the style of someone who prefers to learn from experience or practice; someone who focuses on real-world things. The Index of Learning Styles (ILS)8, 9 system separately considers preference for “Active” learning, or learning by actively doing things (as opposed to “Reflective” learning, in which someone

Dee, K. C., & White, A., & Livesay, G., & Cornwell, P., & Richards, D. (2008, June), Effects Of Supplemental Learning Opportunities Designed To Engage Different Learning Styles Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3725

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