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Learning Styles And Engineering Management

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.366.1 - 4.366.6

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Paper Authors

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Marcus Huggans

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Nystrom Hal

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

Session 2542

Learning Styles and Engineering Management Marcus Huggans / Halvard E. Nystrom Texas Instruments, Inc. / University of Missouri – Rolla


Learning styles have been discussed for years as an approach to enable engineering education to become more effective. However, even though many successful applications have been documented, there has been scant scientific evidence of its effectiveness. At the same time, there are many benefits in using asynchronous tools to complement in-campus classes as well as in distance education. However there is concern that these tools will not be as effective as traditional lectures.

This paper reports on a study1 that was performed at the University of Missouri – Rolla, which successfully measured the impact of one of the learning styles to engineering students. It utilized a web site that contained three tutorial learning modules. These modules were designed for asynchronous application and with varying degrees of global and sequential content in their learning environments. Thirty-two graduate and undergraduate students participated in the study, which became a part of an established engineering course. The students were tested for their learning styles as well as their knowledge of the material before and after each of the Internet- based tutorial sessions. The results of the study showed that the student learning was no worse than in previous classes, which had covered the same material without the help of the asynchronous tutorials. This implies that educators can use more Web-based educational content in their classes with confidence that it can be effectively managed. In addition, it was found global learners learned better in a global environment and sequential students learned better in a sequential environment. This gives more choices to educators on how to reach their students and ways to improve learning effectiveness.

The Objective of the Study

With the explosive rate of change in technology, there is a great opportunity to improve methods in engineering education, and for educators to find ways to improve our instructional methods. In engineering management we struggle with the wide breadth of material that our students are expected to learn, and new material is continuously identified as key to their education. However we are constrained by market forces to limit the length of our degree programs. We, as educators, have several options: 1) reduce the depth of the material we cover, 2) eliminate some of our core material, 3) ignore some of the new material or 4) find methods to improve the learning the effectiveness of our students’ learning. Other fields of engineering education as well as technical training programs face similar pressures to improve learning effectiveness. However, there are opportunities to make some of these needed improvements.

Huggans, M., & Hal, N. (1999, June), Learning Styles And Engineering Management Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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