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Perceiving the artifact within a virtual museum collection: Cognitive styles and online instructional strategies

, University of Virginia, United States

University of Virginia . Awarded


This study examines the importance of cognitive style to the instructional strategies used in the design and implementation of online educational materials. The purpose is to determine if a relationship exists between field dependency/field independency and (1) the ability to search and apply primary resource information in an online database, as well as (2) the ability to conceptualize the attributes and historical context of the artifact in a virtual museum collection.

Participants in the study (N = 36) used online instructional materials designed to accommodate their learning styles. Instructional strategies, based on the characteristic traits of the field dependent and field independent learners, were adapted within a treatment design model. This single model incorporated structural features into a three-level framework for the purpose of supporting individual learning. Each level targeted the bipolar learning preferences of this cognitive style.

Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data were compared to the characteristic cognitive profiles, instructional strategies based on the profiles, and structure of teaching materials containing strategic design elements for the field dependent and field independent learners. The results of the statistical analyses of the pretest-posttest showed a significant statistical relationship between cognitive style and online learning in a virtual environment using the total participant sample. The results of this study suggest that online materials, based on cognitive profile traits and instructional strategies supporting those traits, can serve to assist both field dependent and field independent learners in achieving success.


McCarron, K.R. Perceiving the artifact within a virtual museum collection: Cognitive styles and online instructional strategies. Ph.D. thesis, University of Virginia. Retrieved July 29, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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