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An investigation of the link between learning styles and satisfaction with distance education in a small midwest university

Timothy F Little, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to determine if students at a small Midwestern university ranked their satisfaction with distance education and specific distance education course elements differently depending on their learning style, as determined by Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory 3.1 survey.^ The population for the study was limited to a subject university that requested to remain anonymous. An initial quantitative portion of the study was conducted using a research Web site designed specifically for this study where students responded to the LSI survey and a satisfaction survey developed for this study. A qualitative phase followed consisting of brief telephone interviews with students who indicated through the Web site a willingness to be interviewed.^ An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to determine if the total satisfaction scores differed among the four learning style groups. Tukey HSD follow-up tests were performed to determine which groups differed from each other.^ First, the quantitative results indicated that there was a statistically significant difference in satisfaction with distance education based on the learning styles defined by Kolb. Second, this study produced evidence that there is a measurable difference in satisfaction with course elements and learning style preferences. Those in the accommodating group had the highest levels of satisfaction for face-to-face contact with other students and the thesis. The assimilating individuals had the highest satisfaction levels for e-mail communication with the instructor and telephone contact with other students. Individuals in the converging group had the highest levels of satisfaction for face-to-face contact with other students and the thesis. Finally, individuals in the diverging group had the highest levels of satisfaction with chats and telephone contact with other students.^ This information is important to distance education course designers and instructors as they look for ways to deliver programs that not only meet the educational goals of the students but seek to deliver a product that meets the expectations of an increasingly competitive market.^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Technology of|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Little, Timothy F, "An investigation of the link between learning styles and satisfaction with distance education in a small midwest university" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3315880.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3315880

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