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What is your Learning Style?

: A theoretical study on various learning style models and assessment techniques to evaluate students learning styles for the multimedia supported e-learning environment
M I Jawid Nazir Karpagam University, INDIA Manipal University, UAE jawid_nazir@manipaldubai.com M Mubeen Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah, UAE drmubeenbww@yahoo.co.in Ramachandra V Pujeri KGiSL-College of Engineering Technology, INDIA sriramu_vp@kggroup.com

Abstract
Learning is an inbuilt component of every human being. People learn in every walk of their life. In higher education, students learn the content as per the pedagogics set by the school. An instructor cannot deliver his course content to students according to the individual students learning style in a larger class in a traditional classroom. The role of computer based learning and the delivery of electronic content by an instructor is more appreciated in such situation, since it supports the learner to study on their own pace and revise as many times for the better understanding of the subject. Delivery of the course content over the computer based learning is preplanned by a course instructor. Sometimes the way the course is delivered to the learner become ineffective when it does not match with the learners learning style. Creating a course content as per the Learners Style is a challenging responsibility of every instructor who teaches. In this paper a detailed study has been conducted to study the various methods to find out learners style, and assessment methods for the same, so that a better course content could be prepared and delivered with the student learning style preferences for a faster learning and good outcome. Keywords: Learning Styles, Multimedia based Learning, e-learning styles, Learning Style Assesment

when the course content is delivered in a single mode of learning style, which only suits a certain group of learners. There are many new trends that have been applied in content preparation but these efforts will be meaningful when it satisfies the need of the learner. Improper delivery of content could lead to ineffectiveness of learning and it is quite a difficult task for an instructor to set and change the course content as per the requirement of the learner in a large class. Assessing the different learning styles will facilitate in developing a course content which is compatible with students learning style and preferences [1] A dynamic content generation [2] and delivery as per the learners interest would be more effective [3] and time saving. In this research paper the author has studied and presented various methods to evaluate the learners styles.

2. Learning Styles
Learning styles are various methods or habits of learning [4], and in which each individual learner begins to concentrate on, process, absorb and retain new and difficult material [5]. With knowledge of student's learning style, a teacher could use teaching methods that maximize student learning. Students can use recognition of their individual learning styles to find what study methods, environment, and activities help them learn best.

3. Learners Style theories and Models


Learning styles are classified in many different types. These modes developed by various researchers and those are mostly focused on the best observation, remembrance, dependency during learning, collaborative skill, avoidant, participation, impact of learning environment [3][6][7]

1. Introduction
Instruction delivery for the computer based education is usually a predefined instruction set, which a learner goes through. Non-linear course content is always better than linear content since it helps a Learner to read things in a casual manner as per the established knowledge. During the learning process there are chances to skip the core content of the subject if it is presented in contradiction to the preferred learning style of the learner. It could be an in- effective or time consuming learning process

3.1 Kolbs Learning Model


Kolbs Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) described in four stage learning. In this four stage cycle, Concrete Experience provides a foundation for Observation and Reflection, these observation

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and reflection are integrated and refined into Abstract Concepts producing new implications for action which can be Tested in New Situation. [8].

3.2 Honey and Mumford's model


Honey and Mumfords model is derived from the Kolbs model [10]. The characteristics of the learner is described as per the four stages of Honey and Mumfords model is given bellow [11]. Figure 2 shows the learning model and the variables are summarized in Table 2

FIGURE 1 : Kolbs Learning Model [9] During learning process two things cannot be done at the same time, even if it take place it create a conflict situation, they are Do or Watch, and Think or Feel. It is generally described as grasping experience and transforming experience. These decisions constructed to form a two-by-two matrix and imply the four learning styles. Figure 1 shows the learning model and the variables are summarized in Table 1 TABLE 1: Learning Style Descriptions summarized from [8]
Doing (Active Experimentation) Feeling (Concrete Experience) Thinking (Abstract Conceptualization) Accommodating Watching (Reflective Observation) Diverging-12

FIGURE 2 : Honey and Mumford's model [11] TABLE 2: Honey and Mumford's model summarized from [12]
Stages Reflector Description of learning Style Description Prefers to learn from activities that allow them to watch, think, and review. Likes to use journals and brainstorming. Lectures are helpful if they provide expert explanations and analysis. Prefer to think problems through in a stepby-step manner. Likes lectures, analogies, systems, case studies, models, and readings. Talking with experts is normally not helpful. Prefers to apply new learnings to actual practice to see if they work. Likes laboratories, field work, and observations. Likes feedback, coaching, and obvious links between the task-on-hand and a problem. Prefers the challenges of new experiences, involvement with others, assimilation and role-playing. Likes anything new, problem solving, and small group discussions.

Converging

Assimilating

Theorist

Description of learning Style Stages Description Accommodating Prefer to take an experiential (doing and feeling) approach. Attracted to new CE/AE challenges, work in teams, target based. Try different ways to achieve an objective. Diverging They prefer to watch rather than (feeling and do. Gather information and use watching) imagination to solve problems. CE/RO More creative and prefer to work in groups, listen with an open mind and to receive personal feedback. Converging Solve problems and find solutions (doing and thinking) to practical issues They prefer AC/AE technical tasks, and are less concerned with people Specialist and technology abilities are more. Like to experiment with new ideas, to simulate. Assimilating (watching and thinking) AC/RO Prefer logical approach. Ideas and concepts are more important than people. Need clear explanation. Understand better and organize things in format, prefer to read, lectures, exploring analytical models.

Pragmatist

Activist

3.3 Fleming's VAK/VARK model


The key approaches are Visual, Auditory, and Tactile/Kinesthetic (VAK). But for most students, one of these methods stands out. In a traditional classroom learning a learner prefer to sit in a place where they are able to see best and observer the class activities such as teachers body language, watching video, animation, the written content on the white/black board, charts, PowerPoint presentations and any other form supportive material [13]. The benefit of learning through visual media [14] is better understanding and interpretation [15]. Auditory is a method of attaining information best through their ears. A learner who like auditory content always prefer to sit in a class room where

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there is less noise, disturbance so that than they could hear the teachers narrations , poems, songs, question and answers and group discussions. Tactile learners are referred to as kinesthetic learners, and they are very good in learning when some hands on experience is given to them [16], and learn better by doing [17]. A learner who like tactile method show more interest in moving around the object, more interest in lab classes, simulations and other physical activities [18]. Figure 3 shows the learning model and the variables are summarized in Table 3

TABLE 4 : Dunn & Dunns Model summarized from [5]


Description of learning Style Triggers Description Environmental The learner wishes to learn in preferred room temperature, lighting, seating and table arrangements while reading or the other way. Emotional Learner wishes to get motivated or selfmotivated by some mean, verifying their performance and goals, responsibility in taking or the other way. Sociological Preferred to work alone, with group, under supervision or the other way. Physical Preferred to learn from which styleVATK, eating habits while learning, preferred time of learning, break during the learning time. Psychological Preferred to be monitored by parents, motivation due to teachers action, encouragement frequency or the other way.

What is your Learning Style?

Visual

Auditory

Tactile

FIGURE 3 : Key Approaches for Learning TABLE 3 : Fleming's VAK/VARK model summarized from [19]
Description of learning Style Description Prefers to learn from pictures Studying diagrams, Outlining notes, locating sites or placing symbols on a map, Watching videos, demonstrations, simulations, and reenactments, Color coding notes, drawing pictures to represent learning content, Writing summaries, Direct copying of notes and vocabulary, Using flashcards. Auditory Prefers to learn from reading aloud to self (Listening) from texts and lecture notes, replaying recordings of lectures, summarizing in audio/oral format, Questions and answers sessions, learning from content contained in songs, poems, and drama, listening to video/audio tapes, participating in study groups Tactile Prefers to learn from building prototypes, (Experience) conducting experiments, role playing , relate knowledge to movement, touch objects, pace when reading, rock in place when studying, taking field trips to historic sites Stages Visual (Seeing)

FIGURE 4: Dunn & Dunn Model [5]

4. Assessment Methods:
Assessment methods are used to determine a students learning style. Learning style assessment.is a process by which learners can evaluate their ways of learning [4], and in which each individual learner begins to concentrate on, process, absorb and retain new and difficult material evaluated. This assessment is carried out by conducting a carefully designed questionnaire. Many such questionnaires are available to identify the learning style of a Learner. A few of those are listed below. Kolbs The Learning Style Inventory (LSI) [20] Honey & Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire [21],[22] Fleming's VARK Learning Style Test [19],[23] DUNN & DUNN Learning Styles Questionnaire [24]

3.4 Dunn & Dunns Model


Triggering the students learning style could improve the chances of transforming learned content to long-term memory. Learning preference of learner is captured in five categories; they are Environmental, Emotional, Sociological, Physical and Psychological. This model specified with a collection of variables which could guide and identify the strength of each individual learners to achieve their goals. Figure 4 shows the learning model and the variables are summarized in Table 4

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5. Discussions:
In an e-learning environment the content which is published or provided could be matching with one group of learners. Assessing the learning style using these questionnaires mentioned above could help instructors to know about their audience and the end users. The responses to the questionnaires could help to assess the students mind and appropriate modules could be suggested based on the users preferred style of learning. A report generated based on the learners data could facilitate an awareness of their individual learning styles. This enables them to grasp things better and learn comfortably during the course of study. Learning style is not fixed characteristics of a person it could change over the period of time and they will adapt to new way of learning style during the walk of their life. All individuals possess their own pace of learning and Learning styles, but in a higher education time bound course study requires a learning pace which is set by the Institution or University to get the certification or graduation. A learners learning style may or may not match with the delivery style. Sometimes it becomes an easy life or if not a nightmare for the learner. Learning style evaluation is a procedure by which instruction is enhanced through the analysis of learning needs that leads to a methodical development of learning materials. By knowing the learning style instructional designers often use technology and multimedia as tools to enhance instruction for a better outcome. Here are some of the benefits for learners by providing learning style based learning material. We can obtain enthusiastic and totally involved learners who will be willing to try out new ideas [1] Enables learners to look at the big picture and come up with creative solutions [6] Increases the learners confidence since the material matches their mind maps [25]. Learners become more curious and seek problems and solutions [7] . Increases self-motivation and stimulates thought processes [26]. Learners are more willing to accept their own errors and work to avoid the same [27]. Enhances planning and helps in prioritization of learning tasks [28] Minimizes distractions and improves time management[24].

questionnaires are used for assessing the learning styles. Assessment reports generated from the responses assist both end users and content developers for maximum utilization of resources. Customization of the questionnaire keeping in mind both the end user and the requirement of the time bound course study would help in eliciting relevant responses, which could improve designing of course content with the use of technology and multimedia features for an effective course delivery for good learning outcomes.

7. References
[1] A. Ismail, R. M. R. Hussain, and S. Jamaluddin, Assessment of students learning styles preferences in the faculty of science, Tishreen University, Syria, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 4087-4091, 2010. C. Wolf, iWeaver: Towards an Interactive Web-Based Adaptive Learning Environment to Address Individual Learning Styles, European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, pp. 1-16, 2002. E. E. Bachari, E. H. Abdelwahed, and M. E. Adnani, Design of An Adaptive E-Learning Model Based On Learner S Personality, Ubiquitous Computing and Communication, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 1-8, 2010. C. Wolf, iWeaver: Towards Learning Style ' -based e-Learning in Computer Science Education, in Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE2003), 2003, vol. 20, pp. 1-7. S. M. Rundle., Learning Styles: Dunn and Dunn Model, 2008. [Online]. Available: www.learningstyles.net;http://www.ilsalearning-styles.com. N.-S. Chen, C.-W. Wei, and C.-C. Liu, Effects of matching teaching strategy to thinking style on learners quality of reflection in an online learning environment, Computers & Education, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 53-64, Jan. 2011. O. Akdemir and T. a. Koszalka, Investigating the relationships among instructional strategies and learning styles in online environments, Computers & Education, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 1451-1461, May 2008.

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6. Conclusions
Learning the learners style could help an instructor or an e-learning content developer to know better about the end user or the audience. Learning models discussed in this paper have their own advantages and weaknesses. A number of [7]

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[8]

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Learning, Informing Science Volume, vol. 8, pp. 263-279, 2005.

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