Teaching and Learning Styles Of Community College Business Instructors and Their Students: Relationship to Student Performance and Instructor Evaluations
The Canfield Instructional Styles Inventory and the Canfield Learning Styles Inventory were used to identify the teaching styles of business instructors and the learning styles of their students. The study purposes included determining if a match existed between students' learning styles and instructors' teaching styles and determining if relationships existed between style match and student success as indicated by course grades and final exam scores and between style match and student evaluations of instructors.
The participants were 5 business instructors and 99 students from two community colleges in Southwest Virginia. The ages of the student participants ranged from 18 to 62 with the average age being 35. The instructors favored the Organization, People, Direct Experience, and A-Influence scales of the Canfield Instructional Styles Inventory, implying that they present material to their students in a clear, logical, and organized manner. Opportunities are created for students to interact in activities that relate to real-world experiences. Their least preferred instructor scales were Competition, Numeric, Reading, and D-Influence. On the Canfield Learning Styles Inventory, the student participants favored the Organization, People, Direct Experience and B-Expectation scales, implying that they like clearly organized and meaningful course work that requires hands-on or performance situations. Additionally, they like interaction with the instructor and classmates involving activities closely related to real-world experiences. Their least preferred scales were Independence, Numeric, Reading, and D-Expectation. In this study, 36% of the students' preferred learning styles matched the instructors' preferred teaching styles. The outcomes of the analysis of variance revealed that there was no significant relationship between learning style/teaching style match and student success as indicated by course grades and final exam scores. Furthermore, there was no significant relationship between learning style/teaching style match and higher evaluations of instructors. However, there was a significant relationship between course grades, final exam scores, instructor evaluations, and GPA as would be expected. Students who were categorized as high achievers according to GPA scored higher on course grades and final exam scores and evaluated instructors higher than those categorized as low achievers.