The Effect of Students’ Learning Styles on Their Performance

This article reports a study that investigated the effect of students’ learning styles on their performance when instructed using web-based tools. Its main aim was to find out whether student performance improves when learning and instruction occur in a web-based environment (Kozub, 2010). Individual student learning is closely tied to a student’s learning style and the design of classroom instruction or mode of teaching. However, often, the designs of courses do not take into account the diverse learning styles of the students. It is against this background that the author of this study explores the impact of educational technology (web-based instruction) on students’ learning styles based on their performance in a web-based lecture course. The participants were drawn from undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Lubar School of Business. 159 students drawn from the Taxes and Personal Finance department participated in the study (Kozub, 2010). Using an ANOVA analysis approach, the author investigated the relationships between instructional design and student learning styles. Extra course credit was awarded to the participants undertaking the online course (Taxes and Personal Finance), which was an optional course available for the volunteers. Initially, 178 students agreed to fill out an LSI-IIa (Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory), undertake a web-based module, and complete a post-course survey. The researcher designed two PowerPoint-based modules on urban planning that matched with the different learning styles identified in the students. He then used a two-way ANOVA to analyze the students’ test score results and perceptions about the online version of the module. The author determined the relationship between learning style and the online module, and the impact of the two factors on the students’ scores. The study’s findings indicate that the type of online instruction module and the type of student learning style does not affect the students’ performance (test scores) or their perception of the module offered. Moreover, the author found no significant relationship between the students’ performance on the online test, administered after completing the online module, and their learning styles. This finding is inconsistent with the common assumption that an online learning environment is effective as it can be designed to suit each student’s learning style. As the findings indicate, there is no correlation between students’ learning styles and performance (F = 0.886). Nevertheless, the article found that instructional design that focuses on each student’s learning style may allow the student to develop a positive learning experience, but cannot lead to improvement in classroom performance. The study’s findings underscore the utility of educational technology in instructional design. Although the study found no correlation between web-based instruction (online module) and the students’ performance in online courses, it does provide important insights about the role of multimedia technologies in education. Previous studies have established that instructional media facilitate instruction/lecturing and student learning. They enhance individualized instruction, improve student participation in class and help students acquire proficiency in the course. Moreover, the study found that the students’ learning styles have no significant correlation with their performance. This implies that individualized instruction using web-based tools, if well designed, can facilitate collaborative learning and student engagement with online materials that resonate well with their learning preferences. Multimedia tools are reliable approaches for revolutionizing classroom instruction and student learning.

Reference

Kozub, R. (2010). An ANOVA analysis of the relationships between business students’ learning styles and effectiveness of web based instruction. American Journal of Business Education, 3(3), 89-98.