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ERIC Number: ED550693
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 161
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-5133-5
The Relationship between Learning Styles and Learning Outcomes for Adults in an Informal Educational Setting
Roberts, Larry N.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northcentral University
With more adults seeking unique and meaningful learning experiences in both recreational and professional arenas, informal learning institutions, such as museums, zoos, and botanical gardens are a natural source. Informal learning opportunities are the business of these institutions; moreover, a goal in education mission statements of many of these informal learning institutions is education programming designed for the adult visitor. Yet, historically the educational programming at these institutions has been designed for children, similar to public school education. Previous studies about museum programs for adults examined why adults attend programs; gathered statistics related to age, education, and gender; and assessed what visitors wanted from the experience. However, studies that include how adults learn in informal learning settings have been limited. Research on the association between learning styles and learning shows that information needs to be presented in a variety of formats for it to be internalized by everyone. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between one aspect of adult learning practice, learning style, and museum-focused learning outcomes. This nonexperimental, quantitative research was designed to investigate whether there is a relationship between individual learning styles as assessed by the Kolb LSI and learning outcomes as measured by scores on the DEELSA, an inventory of visitors' knowledge and attitudes about the desert environment developed specifically for this study. One hundred and sixty adults participated in a thematic garden tour at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. Findings of this study indicated a minuscule explained variance between the predictor variable, individual learning styles and the two learning outcomes (knowledge, R[superscript 2] = 0.02, F(3, 155) = 1.23, p = 0.30 and attitude, R[superscript 2] = 0.03, F(3, 155) = 1.39, p = 0.249). An ancillary analysis did return a statistically significant correlation, r(158) = 0.47, p < 0.001, between knowledge and attitude scores. In consideration of this study's findings and limitations, recommendations for future research include assessing prior knowledge, meaningful segmenting of study groups, and establishing more controlled experiences on the chosen trail tour, recognizing that learning style alone may not be the best predictor of learning outcomes. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Learning Style Inventory