The Relationship Between Learning Style And Student Success In A Distance Education Program
Lewis, Nancy M.
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Learning styles theory has contributed to educational research in that the various measurements of learning style provide a framework on which to create learning models that may contribute to student success for the largest number of students in a variety of settings. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between learning style and student success in a distance education program of studies. I examined the ways that distance educators can assist students with diverse learning styles and suggested how one method of measuring learning style can provide possible solutions to compensate for learning style differences. Using the Kolb learning style inventory to measure the various ways that students learn, I then explored the impact of their learning style on their ability to participate in a distance education program of studies. A case study methodology was employed. Participants in this study included students participating in a diploma program in a community college in Southwestern Ontario. Individuals who agreed to participate in the study were given the Kolb LSI by mail or by fax. Once they completed the learning style inventory participants were interviewed by telephone to elicit their thoughts on how they were able to achieve positive learning outcomes in the distance learning environment. An analysis of the resulting interview transcripts was then conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the recurring themes that emerged. One result was that many participants related strategies that they had learned from their studies which were transferrable to the work that they did. Although this was not found to relate directly to learning style, it does relate to the experiential learning cycle developed byKolb which is a basis of his learning style theory. Based on the results of this study, understanding how individuals use their learning style to complete their distance education course is one tool that can offer some insight into student success.