1 Students' Lerng Styles Two Clsses: Onle Distnce Lerng Equivlent On-Cmpus Auth(s): Dvid P. Diz Ryn B. Crtnl Reviewed wk(s): Source: College Techg, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Fll, 1999), pp Published by: Tyl & Frncis, Ltd. Stble URL: Accessed: 04/10/ :41 Your use the JSTOR rchive dictes your cceptnce the Terms & Conditions Use, vilble t. JSTOR is not-f-prit service tht helps scholrs, reserchers, students discover, use, build upon wide rnge content trusted digitl rchive. We use fmtion technology ols crese productivity fcilitte new fms scholrship. F fmtion bout JSTOR, plese contct Tyl & Frncis, Ltd. is collbtg JSTOR digitize, preserve extend ccess College Techg.
2 Students' Two Lerng Clsses Styles Onle Distnce Lerng Equivlent On-Cmpus Dvid P. Diz Ryn B. Crtnl The ide tht people lern different ly is venerble probbly hd its ig the ncient Greeks (Wrtcher et l. 1997). Educrs hve, f mny yers, noticed tht some stu dents prefer cert methods thn others. These re dispositions, ferred s, fm stu dent's unique preference id techers the plnng smll-group dividulized struction (Kemp, Mrison Ross 1998, 40). Grsh (1996) hs defed s "personl qulities tht fluence stu dent's bility cquire fmtion, terct peers the techer, otherwise prticipte expe riences" (41). Blck (1996) suggested tht one the first thgs we techers cn do id the process is simply be wre tht there re diverse the student popultion: There re probbly s mny wys "tech" s there re lern. Perhps the most imptnt thg is be wre tht people do not ll see the wld the sme wy. They my hve very different prefer ences thn you f how, when, where how ten lern, [onle] Although mny us re wre tht dif ferent exist, the ppliction Dvid P. Diz is press helth eduction, Ryn B. Crtnl is reserch nlyst t Cuest College, Sn Luis Obispo, Clifni. this knowledge is ten consequen til. Some fculty simply opt use wide vriety techg ctivities, hopg tht will cover most student pref erences long the wy. This method, though expedient, my not be the most effective wy ddress student. Further, mny techers thk tht the sme techg methods tht wk their trditionl es will lso wk f distnce. The underlyg ssumption is tht students who enroll distnce eduction es will hve the sme ditionl es. Fculty s those tr ten ssume tht techg, ccompnyg room processes, re like "mster key" thus pproprite f ny settg. There is not n overbundnce re serch on distnce eduction. Most the studies focus on the discovery reltionships between specific student chievement outcomes: drop rte, com pletion rte, ttitudes bout, predicrs high risk. One the most populr style venries, which is ten used dis tnce reserch, is the Kolb Lerng Style Invenry (LSI) (Kolb 1986). Kolb's LSI mesures student style preference two bipolr dimensions. Over time, lerners develop preference ences when enggg ses when bstrct cquirg f either concrete experi preference f conceptul skills knowledge. nly They lso my emphsize terest turn g they prctice by ctive experi menttion, my prefer thk bout their experiences by reflective observtion (Dille Mezck 1991, 27). Jmes Grdner (1995) described Kolb's LSI s cognitive style mode. Cognitive processes clude sr ge retrievl fmtion the br represent the lerner's wys perceivg, thkg, problem solvg, rememberg (20). Dille Mezck (1991) used Kolb's LSI identify predicrs high risk mong community college telecourse stu dents. Successful students hd lower sces on their f concrete experiences thn did the unsuccessful stu dents. Thus, becuse distnce courses ten led socil isoltion require greter relince on skills, students less need f concrete experience my be expected be better suited the dis tnce fmt. People higher sces on concrete experience tend exhibit greter sensitivity feelgs thus would be expected require ter ctions peers the techer. Successful telecourse students lso preferred look f bstrct concepts help expl the concrete experiences ssocited their. Tht is, wnted know "why" cert thgs hppened conceptul theet icl terms. This bstrct pproch clerly fved success the telecourse. 13? COLLEGE TEACHING
3 Dille Mezck concluded tht students who needed concrete experience were not ble thk were bstrctly high-risk telecourse. Gee (1990) studied the impct lern g style vribles live teleconference distnce eduction. The ex study med the fluence style students n on-cmpus remote room on their chievement the followg: course content, course completion rtes, ttitudes bout. Both distnce on-cmpus groups were tught simultneously by the sme techer, received identicl course content, met weekly. Gee dmis tered the Cnfield Lerng Styles Inven ry (CLSI) (Cnfield 1980). Students the distnce who possessed conceptul style hd the highest verge sces ll the student chievement res. People est sces the distnce the low course hd socil conceptul lern g style. Students both socil pplied style perfmed much better the on-cmpus. The out comes the Gee study suggested tht successful distnce eduction students fved n ment, successful on-cmpus students preferred wkg others. The rel tively smll smple twenty-six stu dents suggested tht dditionl reserch is needed. An imptnt question, however, is rised by such reserch: Are there differ ences between students who enroll distnce eduction their on-cmpus counterprts? Tht no question, mtter how it is nswered, is vitl f nyone terested students' success. If there re no differences, it is likely tht fculty cn trnsfer the sme types techg/lern g ctivities tht hve wked the tr ditionl ment the distnce settg similr success. Tht is prob bly true, if enough sensitivity thought hve been given how these methods will be trns ferred the distnce eduction en vironment technologies. ences usg current communictions On the other h, if there re differ between groups students, then fculty must use lern g style fmtion id their plnng preprtion f distnce eduction ctivities. Srs (1998) noted tht pro fesss should be willg chnge their techg strtegies techniques bsed on n pprecition the vriety stu dent. "[Techers] should try ensure tht their methods, mteri ls, resources fit the wys which their students lern mximize the potentil ech student" (2). If optiml is on, these vry be tween distnce equivlent on-cmpus students, then fculty should be wre these differences lter their prepr tion structionl methods ccdg ly. In ny cse, the first step usg style fmtion distnce eduction is determe students' lern g. Selectg Lerng Style Instrument As educrs consider trnsplntg their trditionl courses distnce, should ssess the the students who enroll. With vriety style struments use, it is imptnt select one ccd g the unique requirements the distnce context. Three imp tnt fcrs consider when selectg style strument re defg the tended use the dt be col lected, mtchg the strument the tended use, flly, selectg the most pproprite strument (Jmes Grdner 1995). Other concerns clude the underlyg concepts design the strument, vlidity relibility issues, dmistrtion difficulties, cost (22). One the distguishg fetures most distnce eduction es is the b sence fce--fce socil terction between students techer. Thus, n venry used tht settg should ddress the impct different socil on dynmics the the students. An exmple this cn be seen Gee (1990), who employed the Cnfield Lerng Styles Invenry (CLSI). The CLSI demonstrted merit distnce studies becuse it t tempted mesure students' mentl conditions, such s the need f ffilition other students strucr, f structure. dependence Those vried socil re one dynmics the m differences between distnce equivlent on-cmpus envi ronments. However, our opion, both the Cnfield Invenry Kolb's LSI crete nrrow rnge pplicbility by limitg pref erences one two dimensions. Al though this style "stereotypg" my be convenient f sttisticl nlysis, it is less helpful terms techg stu dents bout weker unused. Further, the Kolb LSI, which hs been widely used, is primrily cog nitive preference strument, which does not specificlly tke ccount socil tht re the key distction between distnce trdi tionl rooms. Of the different style stru ments, the Grsh-Reichmnn Student Lerng Style Scles (GRSLSS) seem idel f ssessg student prefer ences college-level distnce settg. The GRSLSS (Hrusk-Riech mnn Grsh 1982; Grsh 1996) ws chosen s the ol f determg student the present study bsed on criteri suggested by Jmes Grd ner (1995). First, the GRSLSS is one the few struments designed specificlly be used seni high school college students (Hrusk-Riechmnn Grsh, 1982). Second, the GRSLSS focuses on how students terct the strucr, other students, lern g generl. Thus, the scles ddress one the key distguishg fetures distnce, the reltive bsence socil terction between strucr student mong students. Third, the GRSLSS promotes n optiml techg/ ment by helpg fculty design courses develop sensitivity students' needs. Flly, the GRSLSS promotes under stg text, spnng six ctegies. possess ll six, lesser extent. This type brod con Students greter underst g prevents simplistic views provides rtionle f tech ers encourge students pursue per f Vol.47/No.4 131
4 sonl growth development their underused. Only brief defition ech is pro vided here der ssist the reder the terprettion the fmtion from this study. 1. In students prefer de pendent study self-pced struction would prefer wk lone rther thn other students on course projects. 2. Dependent lerners look the techer peers s source struc re likely s chnge one mtures encounters new eductionl experiences. Dowdll (1991) Grsh (1996) lso hve suggested tht prticulr techg might encourge students cert Problem optiml depends on, the If vry between distnce on-cmpus students, fculty should lter their preprtion techg ccdgly.. Purpose dopt Students' perfmnce my be relted their. Students my lso self-select wy from distnce result, success distnce es. As mt (N = 68). The comprison ws selected from four equivlent on-cmpus sections helth eduction (N - 40) tught by the led uth. The onle distnce students were tught ccdg the sme course out le, used the sme textbook, covered the sme lecture mteril, ok the sme tests s the on-cmpus students. Three m differences between on-cmpus onle groups were the delivery mode f the lectures, the mode techer/student student/student communiction, the mode f the ssignments. The distnce es reviewed multi medi slides (Power Pot presenttions converted HTML) lecture notes onle, while the equivlent es herd the techer's lectures prticipted fce--fce discussion. The distnce mde hevy use Web site used listserv e-mil f com muniction/discussion other stu dents the strucr. Assignments f ture guidnce n prefer uthity figure tell them wht do. 3. Competitive students lern der perfm better thn their peers receive complishments. recognition f their cdemic c 4. Collbtive lerners cquire fmtion by shrg coopertg techer peers. They prefer lec tures group projects. smll-group discussions 5. Avoidnt lerners re not enthusis tic bout ttendg content. They re typiclly cquirg unter ested re sometimes overwhelmed by ctivities. 6. Prticipnt lerners re terested ctivities discussion re eger do s much wk s possi ble. They re keenly wre, hve desire meet, the techer's expecttions. The described by the GRSLSS refer blend chrcteristics tht pply ll students (Grsh 1996, 127). Ech person possesses some ech the. Idelly, one would hve blnce ll the ; however, most people grvitte wrd one two. Lerng es my ultimtely depend on underst g the the students who enroll. Becuse onle courses will vribly be fered the future, some s surnce must be provided the college, the fculty, the students, tht distnce eduction will meet expecttions f good eduction. Not only will students expect n eduction tht is equl qul ity tht provided by trditionl fer gs, will expect student-centered ment, designed meet their dividul needs. There hve been few studies on the reltionship student success distnce ment, none tht we re wre hve used the GRSLSS. The purpose this study ws compre the student onle on-cm equivlent pus, helth eduction es, by usg the GRSLSS. The popultion f the current study cluded helth eduction students medium-sized (8,000?9,000 enrollment) community college on the centrl cost Clifni. The distnce eduction sm ple cluded students two sections helth eduction fered n onle f the distnce were lmost entirely Internet-bsed equivlent ssignments quently but, completed prticipted some while most onle the fre room discussions other trditionl ssignments. All 108 prticipnts first reviewed the student cover letter tht expled ture the reserch provided the n opp tunity f fmed consent. Next, the uths distributed the GRSLSS re viewed the structions f completion the venry. The GRSLSS ws dmis tered group settg durg the second week es. Thus, we used the Gen erl Clss Fm ssess the itil lern g the students. Students self sced the venry, we obted rw sces f ech the style ctegies. Invenries were reviewed by the reserchers f complince rections f ccurcy Reserch Outcomes The present study compred scg. di socil between distnce educ tion equivlent on-cmpus es usg the GRSLSS. The verge men sces the distnce the equivlent helth eduction on ech the six ctegies re shown figure 1. Reltively lrger differences the verge sces the two rooms 132 COLLEGE TEACHING
5 In Avoidnt Collbtive Dependent Competitive Prticipnt Significnt t.01 level Grsh-Riechmnn Lerng Styles Control group Distnce group Figure 1. Comprison Averge Group Rtgs f Ech Lerng Style occurred f the the de pendent. Compred those students enrolled the trditionl room, the students the distnce hd sces higher on the depen dent style scle lower sces on the scle. A sttisticl test ( t test) ws used determe if the dif ferences the sces between the de pendent were due chnce. The vritions verge sces between the two were found be sttisticlly significnt thus not likely due chnce (p <.01). The vritions verge sces between the two rooms on the voidnt, competitive, lbtive, prticipnt were reltively smll, sttisticl nlysis usg / test reveled tht were not sttisticlly significnt. To scert the ptterns the rel tionships mong the ech, we exmed the ssoci tions mong different combtions. This ws done by clcultg the creltion coefficients ssocited the combtions the six. The outcomes this re nlysis shown tble 1 f the distnce col trditionl room groups. F redg this tble, we remd the reder tht creltion coefficient vries from -1, 0, +1, tht the degree which it devites from zero either direction reflects the strength the reltionship between the two vribles. The sterisks some the vlues dicte tht the size the creltion ws significnt sttisticlly thus not due chnce. Creltionl nlysis the on le group showed negtive reltionship between the style the collbtive. In other wds, people who were their lso tended be less collbtive. A second imptnt reltion ship (positive creltion) ws found be tween the collbtive style the prticipnt. Tht is, students who were collbtive their lso were prticipry their pproch. In the equivlent on-cmpus group, significnt positive creltions were found between the collbtive style the competitive prticipnt. Tht is, on-cmpus students who were collbtive lso tended be com petitive prticipry the room. Flly, positive creltion be tween the competitive prticipnt lso ws observed. Stu dents who tended compete lso were "good room citizens" were willg do wht the techer wnted them do. Tble 1.?Intercreltions between Lerng Style Scles f Onle Equivlent On-Cmpus Students Scle 1.In Avoidnt Collbtive Dependent Competitive Prticipnt 1.In 2. Avoidnt 3. Collbtive 4. Dependent 5. Competitive 6. Prticipnt Onle students (N = 68) **, **.12 37** Equivlent on-cmpus students (N = 40),20.10 Note: *p <.05, two-tiled. **p <.01, two-tiled. -.37* ,02, ,01.51**.15,12,58**.28* ,67**.52**.31.46** Vol. 47/No
6 Discussion Gibson (1998) hs chllenged distnce eduction strucrs "know the lerner" (140). She noted tht distnce lerners re heterogeneous group tht strucrs should design ctivities cpitl ize on this diversity (141). Becuse the dy nmic nture the distnce popultion precludes "typicl" student prile (Thompson 1998, 9), we should contul ly ssess students' chrcteristics. A press usg the present dt students' less-preferred Strengtheng helps them become verstile lerners dpt the requisites the rel wld. could pln opptunities tht would emphsize the prefer ences ech the commonly pre ferred (, de pendent, collbtive, prticipnt), thus mtchg techg strtegies. Of prticulr terest were the signifi cnt differences between the groups the ctegies. The distnce students strongly fved. It is not surprisg tht students who prefer, self-pced struction would self-select n onle. It my be tht re well suited the reltive iso ltion the distnce ment. In his reserch, Gee (1990) noted tht successful telecourse students f ved n style. Jmes Grdner (1995) suggested tht students who fved relince on de pendent skills would be suited distnce fmt. As result these significnt differ ences, techg strtegies the distnce should emphsize reltively fewer lern g opptunities. This pproch hs prcticl significnce given tht pres ss ten compl o little time devote objectives. Armed style dt, we cn efficiently llocte structionl time vrious types. Not only were onle students thn the on-cmpus students, but their prefer ences were displyed wy tht ws negtively relted how collbtive were. Tht is, the de pendence onle lerners ws not tied needs f externl structure guid nee from their techer (dependence) need collbte their mtes. The onle students cn be described s "strongly," tht mtch the stereotype the lerner terms unomy the bil ity be self-directed. Self-direction dependence were fcilitted the onle course by ferg students flexible options shpe their ment. The led uth, Diz, used self-pced, lern g ctivities tht llowed students choose from menu onle "cyber signments" bsed on their personl ter ests the relevnce the ssignments. Students completed their chosen ssign ments by dedles posted t the Web site. In contrst, students the equivlent on-cmpus were significntly lerners thn the distnce group. Becuse lerners prefer structure guidnce, it is not difficult underst why might view the isoltion need f self-relince distnce eduction ment some pprehension. s The low level dependence displyed by on-cmpus stu dents ws not relted ny other spects their s lerners. Thus, depen dence ws clerly weker pref erence f trditionl students. The onle students lso displyed col lbtive qulities relted their need f structure (dependence) their will gness s prticipte good citi zens (prticipnt dimension). Thus, lthough onle students prefer depen dent situtions, re willg ble prticipte collbtive wk if hve structure from the techer itite it. In his onle, Diz hs used listservs "threded dis cussion" res promote collbtion mong distnce students. In the pst, he designed collbtive ctivities tht required students itite peer contct conduct the collb tion mimum structure suppt from him. Bsed on the fdgs the current study, it is pprent why this strtegy filed: Onle students will pprently respond well collbtive ctivities, but only if the techer provides enough structure guidnce. Diz's mistke ws tht he ssumed tht onle students would be self-directed, unomous, ctivity. regrdless the type In contrst, the trditionl stu dents hd collbtive tendencies relted their needs be competitive, good citizens. In other wds, were terested collbtion the extent tht it helped them compete fvbly the meet the expecttions their techers. Thus, collbtion ws tied obtg the rewrds the, not n herent terest collbtion. Averge voidnt competitive style sces dicted tht these were fved lesser degree by both groups. It ws ter estg tht, though we live highly competitive society, neither the onle equivlent on-cmpus students relly pre ferred competitive ment. However, the on-cmpus students ppered fv competitiveness if it ws cler tht it ws expected (i.e., thus the reltionship ipnt ). We cn lso use help design which students cn domnt competitive prtic style dt "cretive mismtches" experience style their chrcteristics less 134 COLLEGE TEACHING
7 less-threteng ment (Grsh 1996, 172). Designg collbtive s signments f lerners, ssignments f collbtive lerners, is pproprite even necessry. Strengtheng less preferred helps students exp the scope their, be come verstile lerners, dpt the requisites the rel wld (Srs 1998, 38). Lerng were not the only ferences between the distnce com prison groups this study. Demogrph ic dt dicted tht the distnce group hd higher percentge femles (59 percent, 49 percent), students currently enrolled under 12 units (66 percent, 50 percent), students who hd completed 60 college units (12 percent, 1 per cent), students who hd completed degree (12 percent, 7 percent), stu dents bove 26 yers ge (36 percent, 6 percent). These chrcteristics gree the generl prile distnce stu dents s repted by Thompson (1998). Although it is temptg identify on depend "typicl" distnce student prile, it is likely tht the dynmic nture distnce eduction generl will keep student chrcteristics fluid. Thus, distnce eduction strucrs should contully monir students' chrcteristics. Conclusions We hve concluded tht locl helth eduction students enrolled n onle re likely hve different thn equivlent on-cmpus stu dents. We found tht onle students were, on-cmpus dents were, their s lerners. The on-cmpus stu dents seemed mtch the prile tr ditionl students who re willg wk provided cn obt rewrds f wkg others f meetg techer expecttions. Onle students p pered be driven by trsic mo tives clerly not by the rewrd struc ture the. dif stu One the limittions this study ws the use non-probbility (conve nience) smplg technique. Non-prob bility smplg is used when it is impos sible imprcticl use rom sm plg techniques. Tht is the cse lrge ption eductionl reserch. Although still vlid, the results should not be overgenerlized. We hve demonstrt ed rel substntil difference between distnce equivlent on-cmpus helth eduction students t our college. Befe fculty rush fd out the effects on student out comes, should first ddress the issue whether style differences exist t ll. The results this study should send n imptnt notice fculty who re techg their trditionl courses distnce mode, tht there my be drstic differences, s well s other chrcteristic differences, between distnce trditionl students. As the Wld Wide Web becomes n imptnt medium f eduction delivery, courses will be fered n onle fmt. Though fculty my ttempt use the sme techg methods distnce ment tht would employ n on-cmpus, the dt from the current study suggest tht fcul ty will encounter significntly different s well s other dif ferent student chrcteristics. Presss my wnt employ style ven ries, s well s collect relevnt demo grphic dt, better prepre f distnce es dpt their techg meth ods the the lerners. Fculty should use socil style venries resultg dt f help preprtion, designg deliv ery methods, choosg eductionl tech nologies, developg sensitivity differg student the distnce eduction ment. Future field-bsed reserch should replicte the current study different stitutions disciples. ACKNOWLEDGMENT The uths would like express their thnks Tony Grsh, whose encourgement, guidnce, ediil comments were strumentl brgg this rticle fruition. REFERENCES Blck, J Pedgogy: Lerng. Retrieved September 10, 1997 from the Wld Wide Web: net/~jblckmo/diglib/styl-.html Cnfield, A Lerng venry mnul. Ann Arb, Mich.: Humnics Medi. Dille, B., M. Mezck Identifyg predicrs high risk mong community college telecourse students. The Americn Journl Distnce Eduction, 5(1), Dowdll, R. J Lerng style the distnt lerner. Constium project extendg the concept prctice room bsed reserch rept. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED ) Gee, D. G The impct students' pre ferred style vribles distnce eduction course: A cse study. Ptles: Estern New Mexico University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED ) Gibson, C. C The distnce lerners c demic self-concept. In Distnce lerners higher eduction: Institutionl responses f qulity outcomes, ed. C. Gibson, Mdison, Wise: Atwood. Grsh, A. F Techg style. Pitts burgh, P.: Allince. Hrusk-Riechmnn, S., A. F. Grsh The Grsh-Riechmnn student style scles. In Student br behvi ed. J. Keefe Resn, V.: Ntionl Assocition Secondry School Prcipls. Jmes, W. B. D. L.Grdner Lern g : Implictions f distnce lern g. (ERIC Document Reproduction Ser vice No. EJ ) Kemp, J. E., G. R. Mrison, S. M. Ross Designg effective struction (2nd ed.). Upper Sddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hll. Kolb, D. A Lerng style venry: Technicl mnul (Rev. ed.). Bosn, Mss.: McBer. Srs, L. C Lerng style perspec tives: Impct the room. Mdison, Wise: Atwood. Thompson, M. M Distnce lerners higher eduction. In Distnce lerners higher eduction: Institutionl responses f qulity outcomes, ed. C. Gibson, Mdison, Wise: Atwood. Wrtcher, M. A., E. E. Mrison, V L. Riley, L. S. Scheirn Curriculum progrm plnng: A study guide f the ce semr. Ft Luderdle, Fl.: Nov Southestern University. Progrms f higher eduction. Vol.47/No