Graduate students' learning styles and perceptions of course management systems

Christeny Y Gary, Tennessee State University


The increasing demand for nontraditional courses acknowledges that individuals are not monolithic in their approach to learning. The uniqueness of an individual’s learning preferences is often due to their experiences. Although individuals tend to have a primary learning preference, they may choose to employ an array of learning styles based on the context in which they are learning new information. The purpose of this study was to analyze students’ learning styles and its impact on their level of satisfaction and engagement with course management systems (CMS). Kolb’s experiential learning model (ELM) serves as the basis for this study in order to thoroughly understand the various needs of learners. The researcher developed an online survey which was pilot tested. Upon determining the content validity (e.g., Aiken’s V) and reliability (e.g., Cronbach’s alpha) of the survey, a convenience sampling method was employed. A total of 110 current and former students from the Department of Educational Administration at Tennessee State University were selected to complete the online survey. Of these individuals, 61 survey respondents provided their perceptions of CMSs by answering questions along a Likert scale continuum and by giving feedback pertaining to their experiences with CMSs. The study included several factorial ANOVA designs in order to examine whether students’ learning styles, coupled with their demographics and various experiences with CMSs, had an impact on their level of satisfaction and engagement. The study revealed that students’ learning style had a main effect on their level of satisfaction and engagement. Furthermore, the combination of gender and learning style was found to have an interaction effect on the study’s outcome variables as well. Female assimilators and male convergers had the highest level of engagement with CMSs. Also, female assimilators had the highest level of satisfaction and male accommodators had the lowest level of satisfaction with CMSs. The findings from this study are in alignment with Kolb’s experiential learning model (ELM) and imply the need to further investigate the needs of learners, especially within gender groups.

Subject Area

Information Technology|School administration|Educational psychology|Educational technology

Recommended Citation

Christeny Y Gary, "Graduate students' learning styles and perceptions of course management systems" (2010). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3413688.