Jones & Bartlett Learning Health Blog

    When Student Learning Styles and Courses Misalign: Can this Marriage be Saved?

    Posted by sharonb on Apr 2, 2012 3:00:25 AM

    Higher education instilled most of us with the belief that it is the instructor's responsibility to provide an optimum learning experience to ensure student success. This aspiration includes the written or unwritten directive for instructors to offer courses that provide a variety of opportunities for students with different learning styles to acquire knowledge. However, outside of academia, students may be confronted with educational offerings that do not conform to this belief system. Are we doing a disservice to our students with our idealistic, tailor made approach to education?

    Kinshuk, Liu and Graf (2009) conducted a study of students' performance in courses misaligned with their learning styles.  After assessing the students' learning styles using the Active/Reflective, Sensing/Intuitive, and Sequential/Global scales of the Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model (FSLSM) (they did not utilize the Visual/Verbal scale), the authors assigned students to courses not matched with their learning styles. In the FSLSM model, which has been modified since the original research in 1988, active learners prefer hands on activities; reflective learners prefer to think about the material. Sensing learners like facts; intuitive learners like relationships and possibilities. Sequential learners prefer learning one thing at a time; global learners have leaps of insight. Visual learners prefer picture, graphs and charts; verbal learners prefer words. Kinshuk and colleagues evaluated student performance with a final exam to examine gained knowledge. They found students who had a "strong preference for at least one of the three learning style dimensions had significantly lower scores on the final exam than learners with no strong preference for any learning style dimension" (Kinshuk, Liu and Graf, 2009, p. 744).

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    Topics: administration, Author, Educational Technology, health administration, Health Administration, health care management, learning styles, Online Learning, Sharon B. Buchbinder, teaching methods, Sharon Buchbinder Blog

    The Impact of Technology and Learning Styles on the Teaching/Learning Experience: An Ongoing Conversation

    Posted by sharonb on Mar 2, 2012 2:00:19 AM

    In my twenty-plus years of teaching in higher education, I have seen a shift from strictly face-to-face classes and the straight lecture mode to hybrid and online courses, and the use of case study and group/team work teaching methods. These shifts have reflected advances in society's use of technology, the tech savvy of our students and faculty, and demands of employers for better prepared graduates.

    While much research on learning styles and the use of technology has occurred over the past two decades, it is often published in journals that may not be accessible to frantic, overworked higher education faculty members dealing with the baby boomlet, rising enrollments and larger class sizes. The purpose of this blog is to begin an ongoing conversation with other instructors about the impact of technology and learning styles on the teaching and learning experience. I will bring articles that relate to the dialogue to the blog and discuss them. I welcome your articles and comments, too. While my area of expertise is health care management, my intent is to make this discussion one that will be useful to faculty of all disciplines. Whether you are teaching philosophy, nursing or health care administration, the teaching/learning experience is the heart of the classroom, whether face-to-face or fully online.

    In November 2010, I posted a blog titled, "Teaching as a Contact Sport," in which I described my teaching philosophy. In that post, I suggested, first and foremost, teaching/learning is not a solo sport; it is a team effort--a contact sport.  An article by Sprinkle (2009) addressed the question, "Who actually bears the burden of learning?" The author investigated student perceptions of educator effectiveness among thirty-two (32) graduate students in a face-to-face classroom. Sprinkle found the "most effective educators exhibited humor, compassion, had a PhD, rather than a master's degree, an interest outside of class in students, were enthusiastic, had real-life practice experience, were empathetic, used hands-on activities in class, awarded few F's and many A's" (Sprinkle 2009, paragraph 19). The author also found male students preferred male professors, female students preferred female professors, younger students preferred younger professors, and older students preferred older faculty with real world experiences.

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    Topics: Author, health administration, health care management, learning styles, Sharon Buchbinder Blog, teaching/learning experience, online teaching

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