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Literature Review

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction

The main purpose of this chapter is to conduct theoretical analysis on two areas of concern for this study, which is, e-learning and theory of multiple intelligences. This chapter outlines the areas of concern that precipitated the decision to conduct a review of the literature on learning styles based on the theory of multiple intelligences and how they may be considered in the design of e-learning applications. In order to relate this two areas together, a review of literature was conducted on compound learning theories.

2.2

Learning Styles

The theoretical foundation for the research lies in the areas of learning styles in general and the theory of multiple intelligences in specific from the aspect of educational psychology. A search of the literature on the WWW revealed that documents relating to learning styles are prolific. Refining the search by including „online learning‟ in the search criteria did not successfully elicit sites that discussed issues concerning the use of learning styles in the design of e-learning environments. However, careful examination of the „hits‟ produced by the search engines did reveal some relevant sites, though these were few and far between. Searching online databases such as ProQuest, ACM, IEEE, ScienceDirect and examination of online journals proved more successful. The literature relating to learning styles is vast and can be categorised as follows: 1. 2. Description of learning styles and Test instruments. Arguments relating to the validity and reliability of learning styles instruments. 19

Literature Review

3. 4.

Discussions about the relationship between learning styles and gender or race. Results of search into how learning styles may affect outcomes at different phases of education including primary, secondary, tertiary and higher learning levels.

5.

Articles describing how learning styles may be integrated into the design of courses.

Although many of the papers included in category (5) „how learning styles may be integrated into the design of courses‟ do not relate to online courses, many of them include information which is pertinent to the area under investigation. Comparatively few papers or research reports address the question of how an e-learning environment can effectively accommodate students with differing learning styles. Therefore, as the literature in learning styles theory which describes how to incorporate learning styles into course design is applicable to both traditional and electronic learning, this review of the literature draws on information from a variety of papers. These include those that discuss learning styles and the design of traditional courses, and those that specifically discuss the relationship between learning styles and electronic learning. The following section presents the review of the literature.

2.2.1

Introduction to Learning Styles

We are all aware that different people learn in different ways. Many of us have been in a group learning situation in which everyone is supposedly exposed to the same learning experience. However, upon leaving the classroom it is not uncommon for two people who shared that experience to find that they have very opposing interpretations of the session and different levels of understanding. While one person may find a session enjoyable and learn new skills, another may find it boring and inappropriate (Honey and

20

Literature Review

Mumford, 2000). The reason for these different experiences is that people learn in a variety of ways and are stimulated by different learning activities. For example, some people learn best by reading, whilst others prefer to listen or communicate. These differing ways of learning have become known as „learning styles‟. Therefore, the term „learning styles‟ is used to describe individuals‟ attitudes and behaviours towards learning. Although no two people will learn in the...
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