A study of the relationship between learning styles and cognitive abilities in engineering students

E. Hames, M. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Learning preferences have been indirectly linked to student success in engineering programmes, without a significant body of research to connect learning preferences with cognitive abilities. A better understanding of the relationship between learning styles and cognitive abilities will allow educators to optimise the classroom experience for students. The goal of this study was to determine whether relationships exist between student learning styles, as determined by the Felder-Soloman Inventory of Learning Styles (FSILS), and their cognitive performance. Three tests were used to assess student's cognitive abilities: a matrix reasoning task, a Tower of London task, and a mental rotation task. Statistical t-tests and correlation coefficients were used to quantify the results. Results indicated that the global–sequential, active–referential, and visual–verbal FSILS learning styles scales are related to performance on cognitive tasks. Most of these relationships were found in response times, not accuracy. Differences in task performance between gender groups (male and female) were more notable than differences between learning styles groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-185
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 4 2015

Keywords

  • Tower of London
  • cognitive performance
  • learning styles
  • matrix reasoning
  • mental rotation

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