Date of Award

Spring 1-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Jann Weitzel

Second Advisor

Dr. Paige Mettler-Cherry

Third Advisor

Dr. William Emrick

Abstract

Educators are taught that differentiated instruction is important to ensuring that students are offered an opportunity to learn. As a result, student learning styles become important in the design of an online course. Certain students prefer group work, discussions, and brainstorming sessions all of which are part of the socialization process. Kolb related the ability of a student to learn through the socialization process to the accommodator and diverger learning styles. The researcher hypothesized that the development of a quality online course, as defined by NACOL, should include socialization techniques such as group work. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between the accommodator or diverger learning styles and mean improvement scores in a class. The improvement scores of the experimental group should be higher than those of the control group in a quality online course. Two fall 2008 Meteorology classes, one online class and one traditional class, were established as the in which no group work was conducted. Two spring 2009 Meteorology classes, one online class and one traditional class, were established as the experimental groups in which group work was conducted. From the mean improvement scores, it was concluded that group work aided the online accommodator. However, closer analysis of the group work revealed the experimental group improvement scores were lower than the control group improvement scores for the two objectives under investigation. Mean improvement scores for the traditional class indicated that group work did help the learner. This was verified through a closer analysis of the group work where it was found that the experimental group improvement scores were higher than the control group scores for each of the objectives. Gender, ethnicity, and year in school were also tested, but no statistically significant relationship was identified relative to the mean improvement scores. Future studies related to group work should concentrate on either online classes or bricks and mortar classes, ensure that the population studied is sufficiently large enough to make a causative conclusion, and collect data from different classes.

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