Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Timothy Friedrich

Abstract

Today's college students are diverse and include students who differ in chronological age and developmental learning levels. This recent shift in student demographics, including millennials and adult learners, has created a need for instructors to understand and address their students' learning preferences. Traditionally, student feedback has been collected from course evaluation forms after each term ended, thus preventing instructors from incorporating student feedback into their teaching. Accordingly, this narrative qualitative case study was conducted to explore what instructional methods students in a community college developmental reading course preferred to meet their learning preferences and classroom needs. Willingham's interpretation of informational processing theory that reinforced instructional reading comprehension strategies framed this study. Sampling was purposeful, and criterion-based logic was used to determine the participants. Participants ranged in age from 18-43 and were enrolled in 1 section of a developmental reading course. Data were collected through 8 student interviews, 3 classroom observations, and the participating instructor's lesson plans as an alternative to using course evaluation forms. Data were analyzed using open and axial coding. Findings indicated that students preferred when their instructor used active approaches to learning. Findings also indicated that students preferred receiving instruction that met the needs of their different learning styles. Findings contributed to social change as understanding students' learning preferences may assist instructors with incorporating teaching methods to promote improved support to students in developmental reading courses.