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Effects of learning style and learning environment on achievement of physical therapy graduate students in distance education

, Texas Tech University, United States

Texas Tech University . Awarded


As technology advances, educational opportunities become more available to people who do not live near institutions of higher learning. Since 1995, the Physical Therapy graduate program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) has utilized a live interactive television system (known as HealthNet) to teach physical therapy students at three sites spread 300 miles from north to south. This educational initiative was designed to make the PT program accessible to students living in three largely rural areas of West Texas and to increase the overall number of students in the program

This study investigated the effects of learning style (based on Kolb's experiential learning theory) and learning environments (synchronous interactive television (ITV) and asynchronous computer-aided instruction (CAI) and student achievement of physical therapy students enrolled in distance education. This study utilized the aptitude-treatment interaction (ATI) research approach that is based on the assumption that these two factors (instructional environment and learning characteristics) can interact in ways that affect learning outcomes.

The subjects in this study were 64 physical therapy graduate students enrolled in the PT program at TTUHSC. A completely randomized 2 x 4 factorial experimental design was used in this study. Two independent variables are Learning Environment (ITV versus CAI) and Learning Styles. The dependent variable is student achievement scores in an objective test covering EKG. Three instruments were used in the study. A background information instrument was used to describe the sample and the Kolb LSI (1985) was used to assess learning style. A researcher-developed, 20-item multiple-choice test was used to measure student achievement.

The results indicated significant main effect and interaction effects between two independent variables. Simple main effect analysis of interaction reported a positive effect for learning environment (ITV) at diverger and assimilator teaming style types and no effect for converger and accommodator types.

The information generated by this research would expand the knowledge base of learning style and its relationship to learning environment on student achievement of physical therapy graduate students. The findings of this study may support faculty development programs designed to increase awareness of learning style differences and equip faculty to meet the diverse learning needs of the students.


Daniel, J.A. Effects of learning style and learning environment on achievement of physical therapy graduate students in distance education. Ph.D. thesis, Texas Tech University. Retrieved August 13, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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