Effects of learning styles and participatory interaction modes on achievement of Thai students involved in web-based instruction in library and information science distance education
Narumol Ruksasuk, University of Pittsburgh, United States
University of Pittsburgh . Awarded
Educators believe that one important component that may influence student success in completing a distance education course is the degree of interaction that is possible. Further, research has found that the matching of course content, assignments, and methods of presentation to specific learning styles of students enhances their achievement. It has been suggested that these two factors should be considered in designing a course of Web-based instruction (WBI) for distance education.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether learning styles and interaction modes of WBI have an effect on the degree of student achievement. The study used a factorial design in which two independent variables and one dependent variable were considered. Two independent variables included types of learning styles (Converger, Diverger, Accommodator, and Assimilator) and types of Web-based Instruction (WBI with social and instructional interaction modes, and WBI with instruction-only interaction mode). The dependent variable was the degree of achievement by the students. The subjects used in this study were 200 first year students enrolled in the general education course “Logical Thinking” at Suranaree University of Technology (SUT), Nakornratchasima, Thailand. Since one student dropped out of the course during the experiment, 199 students were used as subjects in the final analysis.
Four instruments were used in this study. Three of these were developed by the researcher: WBI on the Organization of Information, a pretest for testing prior knowledge of Organization of Information, and a posttest to assess students' achievement. The Kolb Learning Style Inventory was translated into Thai and used to identify the subjects' learning style as one of the following four types: Converger, Diverger, Accommodator, and Assimilator. The main effect and interaction effect were used to determine whether a relationship existed between two or more of the variables. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare the subjects' scores on the outcome measure of learning effectiveness.
The results of this study showed that there was no difference among the four types of learning styles in the amount of learning obtained, although a difference in the main effect between two of these types of learning style (Converger and Diverger) did exist. The results also showed that there were no differences in the main effect between these two types of WBI or in the interaction effect among all learning styles and WBI. Although there were no significant differences found for the research questions posed, a significant difference in the main effect did exist between the pretest and posttest. Therefore, the major conclusion of this study should be that all students of all learning styles learned from the Web-based instruction offered.
There are three implications arising from this study that apply to using and designing WBI for library and information science (LIS) distance education. First, WBI can be used to facilitate LIS distance education since all students learned from it. Second, it may be not necessary for an instructional designer to accommodate for social interaction in designing WBI for teaching a course on Organization of Information for different types of learners.
This is because the results of the present study showed that students with four different types of learning styles did not show significant differences in achievement when using two different types of WBI. Third, cultural factors in terms of interaction and communication should be considered in designing WBI. WBI may not increase interaction in distance education for all cultures since the present study found that Thai students had a low frequency of utilization of social interaction mode in WBI.
Ruksasuk, N. Effects of learning styles and participatory interaction modes on achievement of Thai students involved in web-based instruction in library and information science distance education. Ph.D. thesis, University of Pittsburgh.
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