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Novice drafters' spatial visualization development: Influence of instructional methods and individual learning styles

, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, United States

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale . Awarded


The problem of this research study was to determine whether novice drafters' spatial ability to visualize three-dimensional objects and identify 2D representations is influenced by (a) basic drafting instructional methods, or (b) the students' learning style(s). The study, conducted at a southwestern Illinois community college, involved 49 students from engineering graphics and basic drafting courses during Fall 2003–Spring 2004 semesters.

Two instruments were used for pretesting and posttesting of both groups. The Purdue Spatial Visualization Tests (PSVT) consisted of three sections: Developments, Rotations, and Views. The Perceptual Modality Preference Survey v1.1 instrument was divided into seven modality-learning styles: aural, interactive, haptic, kinesthetic, olfactory, print, and visual. This instrument measured the student's perception of how they felt they learned best.

Control groups were instructed using traditional methods of lecture and demonstration on paper or whiteboard. Experimental groups were instructed using the same format except instruction-included methods conducive to the seven learning styles covered in the PMPS. The researcher taught both groups.

Subjects' gender ratio indicated 8 (16.2%) female and 41 (83.7%) male. The experimental group consisted of 21 (91.3%) 18–25 year olds, while the control group had 21 (80.8%). When asked if work exposed subjects to blueprints and/or drawings, 4 from the experimental and 12 from the control group reported experience. Three of the 4 had at least 2–3 years and 6 from the control group indicated 2–3 years respectively.

Findings indicated no statistically significant difference between spatial ability score and basic drafting instructional methods. Statistical significance was found in the relationship between spatial ability and learning styles, and the relationship between spatial ability scores and prior instruction or experience in drafting/art courses taken. Statistical significance was also found in the change between the pretest and posttest of subjects' perceptual modality learning style(s).

Recommendations suggested that technical educators should incorporate learning styles into the instructional process. Use instructional techniques in accordance to students' learning style(s) to improve the development of spatial visualization should be utilized in courses that address graphic representation. Similar studies should incorporate the use of other learning style instruments for adults.


Scribner, S.A. Novice drafters' spatial visualization development: Influence of instructional methods and individual learning styles. Ph.D. thesis, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Retrieved January 20, 2020 from .

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