Learning is a biological process involving horizontal and vertical synapse formations in the brain resulting in established neuronal pathways. Each learner has a unique biological makeup resulting in individual approaches to acquire, understand, and perceive information, which constitutes their learning styles. Learners have a dominant and several subdominant learning styles they use to explore new material. This study investigates the effect of following learning style pathways on learning and satisfaction in an online biology laboratory for non-science-major undergraduates. Participants in the control group, without knowledge of learning styles, randomly chose from eight instructional strategies, to create a pathway to explore the subject of fermentation and enzymes. Each participant in the experimental group was tested to determine dominant and subdominant learning styles, and was then instructed to follow a specific pathway that conformed to his or her learning styles through the instructional materials to explore the topics. Results of the study show a statistically significant improvement in learning when instructional strategies are matched to dominant and subdominant learning styles compared to instructional strategies unmatched to learning styles. Learners following the learning style pathway exactly as suggested by Canfield Learning Styles Inventory, with the dominant instruction first, accomplished extremely significantly higher posttest scores over those who only partially followed the suggested learning path. Learners expressed a higher level of satisfaction with the instruction and greater ease of learning when the instructional strategies matched learning styles. Research results suggest that, if the instructional strategies incorporated into an online laboratory presenting unfamiliar material to learners do not match the learner's style, the learner is forced to use a brain pathway with little neuronal connectivity resulting in poor learning and understanding, and dissatisfaction with the instruction.
|Commitee:||Berg-O'Toole, Carol, Grover, Herbert|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational technology, Science education, Curriculum development, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Instructional design, Learner satisfaction, Learning, Learning pathways, Learning styles, Neuronal pathways, Non-science majors, Online laboratory, Student satisfaction|
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