B. Glick

Penn State University/Hazleton Campus (UNITED STATES)
Learning styles have been shown to be related to Second Language Learning (Castro and Peck, Foreign Language Annals, vol. 38, no 3, Fall 2005). Castro and Peck identified four learning styles: based on a vertical axis the information is processed through concrete experimentation or abstract conceptualization. Based on a horizontal axis, learners interact with information through active experimentation or reflective observation. Students are classified as Accommodators if they learn through active experimentation in a concrete way, Divergers, if they learn through reflective observation in a concrete way, Convergers if they learn through active experimentation of abstract concepts, and Assimilators because they learn through reflective observations of abstract concepts.
Online workbooks, such as those constructed on the course management system A New Global Environment for Learning, address learning in a wide range of formats, including audio, visual, and text. Online workbooks seem to have pedagogical advantages when learning second language vocabulary provided that the online environment exposure is longer than a semester (Zapata and Sagarra, Computer Assisted Language Learning, vol. 20, no. 2, April 2007).
The relationship between learning styles and online exercises with various formats will be assessed. Students will be evaluated for learning styles using the Kolb Learning Styles Inventory. An online workbook that has text and visual prompts will be compared to the same online workbook that has text and visual prompts with an added audio component. The hypothesis is that students who are Accommodators and Divergers will have improved general (grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, and writing) second language scores when exposed to audio online workbooks because students with these language styles rely on communication as part of their second language learning. Conformists and Assimilators, on the other hand, who have a more visual style to learning and who don’t make an effort to communicate when using a second language, will not necessarily benefit from the audio component of the online exercise.