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Teaching With Style: Strategies That Work

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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

4.497.1 - 4.497.15

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Paper Authors

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Teresa L. Hein

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Dan Budny

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

Session 3280

Teaching With STYLE: Strategies That Work

Teresa L. Hein, Dan D. Budny American University/Purdue University


This paper will review two particular learning style models and their application to physics and engineering education. The first model to be described is the Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model. The Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model is employed with non-science majors enrolled in introductory physics at American University. The second model to be described is the Kolb Learning Style Model. The Kolb Learning Style Model is utilized with engineering students at Purdue University. The basic elements of these two learning style models will be compared and contrasted. Specific examples regarding teaching and learning strategies utilized at these institutions which have been designed based on these learning styles models will be briefly described. Central to each strategy is the fact that when students’ individual learning style preferences are accommodated their motivation to learn increases. When students are more motivated to learn the potential exists for enhanced learning and increased learning gains.

I. Introduction

A growing body of research on adult learners suggests that increased learning gains can be achieved when instruction is designed with students’ learning styles in mind 1 - 15. In addition, several practitioners within the domains of physics and engineering education have noted the importance of teaching with learning styles in mind 16 - 23. Furthermore, attention to learning styles and learner diversity has been shown to increase student motivation to learn.

This paper addresses the critical role that a learning style approach can play in terms of physics and engineering education. Two different student populations have been selected for discussion in this paper: non-science majors taking introductory physics at American University and at-risk freshman engineering students at Purdue University.

An overview of the learning style models used by the authors will be provided. Introductory physics students at American University are given a learning style assessment based on the Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model. Teaching strategies in the introductory physics class have been designed to include a learning style approach. At Purdue University, a special set of tutorial courses for freshmen engineering students have been designed based on the Kolb Learning Style Model.

A brief comparison of these two learning style models will be shared. We will conclude this paper with a description teaching and learning strategies that have been successful in working with these two populations of students. We believe that the attention given both populations of students in

Hein, T. L., & Budny, D. (1999, June), Teaching With Style: Strategies That Work Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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