Monday, September 26, 2011

Fielding graduate Sonia Maldonado presents at National Session 2011

Fielding Graduate University
Research Poster Session at National Session 2011
Alexandria, VA

Latinos' Learning Styles -- Sonia Maldonado, EdD, Alumna (2008), School of Educational Leadership and Change

Much of the literature about Latinos clearly indicates that Latinos are the largest growing ethnic group in the United States educational system (United States Census Bureau, 2007). Nevertheless, the educational attainment and performance of this ethnic group is uncertain and has not been addressed adequately (Almader, 2000). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Latinos’ learning styles, academic performance, and demographic factors in order to develop strategies to support the learning process of a group of 229 students enrolled at an urban Community College in the Northeastern part of the United States.

Learning styles are the different ways in which an individual receives and processes information (Kolb, 1984), as well as the factors surrounding the individual’s environment while learning (Dunn, Dunn, & Price, 1996). In order to identify students’ learning styles, two surveys were used: The Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) developed by Kolb (2000), and the Productivity Environmental Preference Survey (PEPS) developed by Dunn, Dunn, and Price (2003). A demographic survey was also administered to deter-mine students’ demographic factors. Responses were coded and analyzed using Pearson’s correlations, one-way Analyses of Variance, t-tests, as well as descriptive statistics.

Results from the study showed that 55.5% of the students at the community college preferred the Assimilator learning style on the LSI (Kolb, 2000), while the Diverger learning style was the second most preferred learning style in the study (23.1%). Findings from the study demonstrated a relationship between students’ learning styles, academic performance, and demographic factors.

Results on the PEPS, for instance, showed a relation-ship between four of the PEPS’ elements and the students’ G.P.A. Students’ G.P.A. was positively correlated with the element s of Design ( r=.162, p=.009) and Responsible/Conforming ( r=.174, p =.009) . On the contrary, the elements of Afternoon (r-1.75, p=.039) and Mobility (r =-.137, p=.008) negatively correlated with students’ G.P.A. In addition, this study demonstrated a significant differ-ence between the learning preferences of Dominican and Puerto Rican students. Mean scores of students from the Caribbean, Central America, and South America were different in some of the elements of the PEPS.

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