Using learning styles data to inform e-learning design: A study comparing undergraduates, postgraduates and e-educators

Julie Willems


What are the differences in learning styles between students and educators who teach and/or design their e-learning environments? Are there variations in the learning styles of students at different levels of study? How may we use this learning styles data to inform the design in e-learning environments? This paper details mixed-methods research with three cohorts teaching and learning in e-learning environments in higher education: novice undergraduate e-learners, graduate e-learners, and educators teaching in, or designing for, e-learning environments (Willems, 2010). Quantitative findings from the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) (Felder & Silverman, 1988; Felder & Soloman, 1991, 1994) reflect an alignment of the results between both the graduate e-learner and e-educator cohorts across all four domains of theILS, suggesting homogeneity of results between these two cohorts. By contrast, there was a statistically significant difference between the results of the graduate and educator cohorts with those of the undergraduate e-learners on two domains: sensing-intuitive (p=0.015) and the global-sequential (p=0.007), suggesting divergent learning style preferences. Qualitative data was also gathered to gain insights on participants' responses to their learning style results

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