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Learning styles in an online environment: Students' dominant learning styles and learning outcomes in an online health education class

, Pepperdine University, United States

Pepperdine University . Awarded


The theoretical basis for this qualitative study was based on learning style theory, adult learning theories, and teaching methods applied in an online environment. This study examined a case, which was built on learning styles, instructional design, and the educational theories associated with students' learning in an online environment. Learning theories encompass content development, course delivery methods, and student learning principles. Although the student learning principles applied in a traditional learning environment may well apply to online learners, learning styles may also impact how a student's prior experience and readiness to learn might influence her or his learning experience. Most online classes are largely text-based. Even though students may have a dominant learning style of kinesthetic or auditory, their inability to adapt a visual learning style in an online environment may interfere with their learning.

The purpose of this case study was to understand how students learned in an online health education class at a Southern California community college by providing various delivery methods of information to accommodate the different learning styles. Observing the relationship of students' dominant learning style with their learning outcomes will help other online educators teach more effectively and accommodate students' needs in learning. Thus, students will be able to better understand the information presented, which will help them apply the information into their lives.

This case study corroborated the self-reported response from students enrolled in an 8-week online health education class in the spring of 2005. The various modalities helped students to become more aware of their health-related behaviors. Learning outcomes were provided by specific examples from each student's journal entry, and noticeable patterns between learning styles and online learning were observed. The online environment did provide useful information to the students. The student related what she or he had learned from the textbook readings, video and audio clips, discussion boards, or group projects to one or more dimension of wellness in her or his life.


Bueno, N. Learning styles in an online environment: Students' dominant learning styles and learning outcomes in an online health education class. Ph.D. thesis, Pepperdine University. Retrieved August 10, 2020 from .

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

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