The Relationship Between Preferred Modal Learning Style and Patterns of Use and Completion of an Online Project Management Training Programme
Start date: 23 June 2008
This paper reports the results of a pilot study, conducted to observe and evaluate the patterns of use and completion of a set of project management units and to identify any relationships between these factors and learning style. The aim of the study was to gather data on which to base a subsequent software development project, based around personalising the learning materials. The participants were adult professionals employed in public sector organisations in the UK and the study was based within a real business e-learning environment. Data regarding preferred learning style was collected via a questionnaire and usage, progress and completion rates were gathered from computer logging data, with user permission. To assess preferred learning style, the VARK inventory (Fleming and Mills, 1992) was used; this categorises learners according to modal preference for learning: Visual, Auditory, Read/write and Kinaesthetic. The results showed that learners with a preferred Visual mode showed the best record for completions and were characterised by frequent usage, but for relatively shorter study durations. In contrast, learners preferring the Auditory modality had the lowest proportion of completions, and also this group logged on less frequently but for longer study periods. Learners with a preferred Kinaesthetic mode were characterised by the highest proportion of ‘In-Process’ learners (who were regularly using the system but not yet completed). The paper concludes with a proposal to build a personalisable learning environment incorporating specific modal features. A further study will then observe more closely the interaction between preferred modal learning style, mode of presentation and usage and performance.
Keywords: VARK, modal learning style, business e-learning, project management