Learning Style Preferences across Disciplines

By Patrícia Almeida and Rita Mendes.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Given the diversity of nowadays student population, being aware and understanding student differences in the classroom is of crucial importance. David Kolb’s theory of experiential learning provides knowledge that can be valuable to gain insight into, and respond effectively to style differences, therefore improving teachers’ skills to provide proper support and challenge in learning environments. This paper reports the first results of an ongoing research project aimed at examining the relationship between university students’ learning styles and their academic field. This study is being conducted at the University of Aveiro, in Portugal. The Learning Styles Inventory was administered to a sample of 186 students from different academic backgrounds: biology, elementary education, design, biochemistry, biotechnology and languages. Inventories were applied in class to all students during the 2009/2010 academic year. The overall results do not confirm the association between learning styles and disciplines previously established by Kolb. Actually, all the students (except education students) possess the accommodating style as dominant. Implications of these findings are discussed and topics for further research are proposed.

Keywords: Learning Style, Kolb, Kolb’s Learning Styles, Experiential Learning, Experiential Learning Theory, Disciplines, Disciplinary Differences, Academic Field, Diversity, Learning, Teaching, Biology, Languages, Multimedia, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Education, Primary Learning Mode

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp.285-302. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 916.517KB).

Dr. Patrícia Almeida

Researcher, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

Rita Mendes

undergraduate researcher, Research Centre for Didactics and Technology in Teacher Education, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal


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