Teaching for Success: Technology and Learning Styles in Preservice Teacher Education

Feb. 20, 2012

Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 12(1), 6-40. 2012.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study explored the achievement of preservice teachers when advice in the form of text and resources was provided based on students’ identified learning styles.

The participants were 28 preservice teachers in a third-year reading methods course at a small liberal arts college in United States.
The authors developed an online module to link prepared advice for the completion of course tasks to particular learning style preferences.
Advice was provided for grasping and processing stages of the learning cycle and served as a form of scaffolding through coaching provided via the online module.
Data were collected through student assessment results from the learning style preference advice module, student reflection journals following use of advice software, and student assignment scores.

Discussion and conclusions

The results point to the value of a learning style preference advice module as a scaffolding tool.
Students’ assessment results when advice was provided were higher than when advice was not provided.
Additionally, students believed the online module provided valuable information in understanding and applying content to the completion of course assignments.
Scaffolding through coaching was possible using the advice module.

Student feedback indicates that taking the inventory a second time was easier for students since they had used the online module previously.
The findings reveal that advice provided based on their learning style preferences about concepts, terms, and task sequence helped students develop deeper understanding of the concepts, terms, and task sequence related to assignments.

The advice module also serves as a model of providing feedback for assignments when students may be reluctant or not feel the need to talk with a course instructor.
This module is an example of how feedback can be prepared and used to support the learning of students with multiple and varied learning style preferences.
The findings show that coupled with feedback provided to students in other ways throughout the course, the online learning style preference module adds additional support to preservice teachers that may lead to increasing their understanding of course content and learning styles.

Furthermore, an important finding of this study was that few students expressed an understanding of learning styles in a way that helped them understand their own learning and how this information could assist them with learning tasks outside the reading methods course.
Instead, students’ attention was focused on completion of assignments and without consideration of further application beyond the assignment.

Results of this study point to the need to assist students in moving a focus that had been solely on successful completion of course assignments to using the experience of the assignment to
(a) consider their own learning strengths and areas of weakness and
(b) to consider how assignment experiences can be transferred to pedagogical practice.

The authors suggest that additional emphasis should be placed on explicit instruction in learning styles and scaffolding.
This emphasis will include assisting students in making use of learning style preference information not only in relation to completion of course assignments, but also to use of information in setting learning goals to guide personal learning.

Updated: Feb. 11, 2015