Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Elisabeth Weinbaum

Abstract

This study was an investigation of Kolb's experiential learning model and learning styles (LS) in adult students of different learning environments. Previous research utilizing Kolb's Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) produced results that were often contradictory to expectations based on Kolb's model. Many of these studies were limited in sample sizes or to particular participant education or career fields. The purpose of this study was to identify significant differences in LS of adult students of 3 different learning environmentsâ??online, classroom, and combination (blended). A convenience sample of adult learners (N = 180) from a social media site and an online university's participant pool were divided into the 3 learning groups and administered the LSI-3 online. The research questions explored the relationship between LS and demographics (age, sex, ethnicity, course level, and grade point average) and sought to identify differences in LS between learning environments. The results of Spearman's rho suggested that LS may be related to age in online learners and to grade level in classroom students, supporting earlier research suggesting that LS change as one progresses in his or her education program. No relationship between any demographic and LS was identified in the combination group. Results of Kruskal-Wallis analysis showed no significant difference in LS between learning groups, though the majority of the sample population were identified as divergent learners in all groups, also supporting results found in earlier research. This research is significant and may lead to positive social change by aiding in the development of more effective learning environments to provide for better learning experiences by students as well as identifying areas in need of future research.

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