An Exploration of the Relationship Between Instructor Learning Styles, Instructional Models, Roles, and Strategies.

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Title: An Exploration of the Relationship Between Instructor Learning Styles, Instructional Models, Roles, and Strategies.
Author: Stevenson Jones, Leslie Kay
Advisors: Diane Chapman, Committee Member
Colleen Wiessner, Committee Member
Paula Berardinelli, Committee Chair
Abstract: There has been considerable research done concerning online learning for the student, but a look at how learning styles of instructors might help or hinder the student learning experience are less visible. What is the relationship between instructor learning style, instructional role, and strategy in an online course? What are the learning style strengths and areas for development of an online course instructor? What instructional roles and practices support instructor-learning styles in relation to online course? What strengths and areas of development can be identified from a literature review of Kolb?s learning style theory that will assist online instructor development? Universities, colleges, other educational, or training orientated interests, and the business community would benefit from a practical tool that merges instructional models, roles, and strategies with adult learning styles. This tool would also specify instructor strengths and areas to enhance instructor professional and personal development. For the greatest number of students with a variety of learning styles to have their styles met by their instructors, the instructor should strive to enhance and develop expertise in all four of the learning style modes (Kolb, 1999). An instructor should strive to develop practical application if not expertise in all the learning style arenas. Exploring each learning style and practicing each instructor role enhances personal and professional development for the instructor and the student. Whether an individual is new to instruction or not does not matter. To most, online instruction is new. To meet the needs of all the learners, no matter what the age level, an instructor must be flexible and strive to move effortlessly between the styles and roles. People grow and develop affectively, symbolically, behaviorally, and perceptually throughout their lives. If a beginning online instructor's learning style is in the acquisition stage and focuses on mainly one mode and the instructor/learner is aware of the need to develop the other modes, then over time the level of complexity and skill sophistication will increase to specialization and integration (Kolb, 2000). The purpose of this research is to create a model linking learning styles, instructional models, roles, and strategies to assist in the educational development of instructors of online courses. Such a model provides a map for areas of needed development per learning style and a resource for practical application of strategies for the matching instructor role. Possible outcomes of this study include contribution to the literature and a tool for the instructor depicting models, roles, strategies, and instructor learning style. A model was developed using Kolb's Learning Style Inventory as a base with the researcher adding instructional models, roles, strategies, and practices gathered from many resources. The researcher suggests that if an instructor takes Kolb's Learning Style Inventory and then compares their results with the model, a plan for their individual professional development that would meet their learning needs and that of their students would present itself. Expanding a personal view of one's learning style allows understanding and the ability to provide appropriate instruction for the learning needs of students.
Date: 2005-01-16
Degree: MS
Discipline: Training and Development

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