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Title: The effect of individual differences on learning outcomes through hypermedia-based instruction
Author: Zywno, Malgorzata S.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3578 2346
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2003
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This research investigated the effects of hypermedia instruction on learning outcomes in the context of individual differences in learning styles. It showed that hypermedia-enhanced instruction in an undergraduate engineering course, implemented within a learner-centred framework, resulted in a significantly improved academic achievement, as compared with traditional instruction. In addition, in exit surveys students reported preference for the hypermedia-enhanced learning and teaching environment, and high levels of satisfaction with it. A survey of faculty teaching strategies provided a context for the findings, revealing low levels of faculty educational development and low use of student-centred strategies and instructional technology. A mismatch was identified between learning preferences of the majority of students in the study and the reported prevalent traditional teaching. The research showed that students whose learning needs were not consistently supported by traditional instruction underachieved in such an environment. Improved academic achievement in the study was linked to an increased accommodation of student learning styles. Hypermedia-assisted environment was particularly effective in improving academic performance of the previously under-achieving students who disproportionately had learning styles that were not congruent with the traditional instruction in their learning environment prior to taking the course in the study. Not only was the achievement gap between them and their previously higher-achieving peers reduced, differences in distributions of learning styles between these two populations were significantly reduced as well. This study contributes to the state of existing research on the impact of technology on learning, where few empirical studies are conducted in authentic settings, particularly in engineering education. In addition, the research offered significant support to the construct validity of the Felder Model of Learning Styles, and to the reliability analysis of its psychometric instrument. Though this research dealt with engineering education, its findings extend beyond it. While educational technology is often seen as a panacea for problems in education, the literature suggests that it is most effective within the learner-centred pedagogical paradigm, and when thoughtfully integrated into the instructional design. The results support this point of view and confirm that pedagogical considerations should precede any discussion of how technology can enhance teaching.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available