The effect of cognitive styles, and educational computer environments on learning performance.

Adrian Parkinson,  Dr.T.Redmond, Dept of Computer Science ,Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

The effect of three treatments Web, CD, Text and student cognitive styles on learning performance was investigated.  The subject matter was an Introductory Course in Artificial Intelligence.  Sixty final year Information System students participated, randomly assigned within sexes to one of the three treatments. Upon completion of six one-hour sessions they were given a sixty-minute examination to assess overall learning.   Prior to the commencement of the course the students had completed the following psychometric tests Cognitive Styles Analysis (CSA) (Riding 1991), the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) (Witkin 1971) and Kirton's Adaptive Innovator Inventory( KAI)   (Kirton 1976 ) The Cognitive Styles Analysis measures an individual's position on two cognitive style dimensions Verbalizer -Imager, Wholist -Analytic, while the Group Embedded Figures Test measures one cognitive style dimension that of Field Dependence-Field Independence. Kirtons Adaptor-Innovator Inventory locates an individual's position on the Adaptor-Innovator continuum.
It was found that only Field Dependence-Field Independence interacted with overall learning performance (p<0.001) irrespective of treatment. When the three treatments were investigated the results are suggestive that Verbalizers performed better than Visualizers in the Web treatment, while the opposite was found to be true in the CD treatment. The results of the study are discussed in terms of experimental constraints, Individual differences , further studies and Web design.

Search Terms
Geft, KAI ,  CSA,  Individual differences, E -learning, Cognitive Styles, learning performances

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