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DESIGN OF A FLEXIBLE E-ASSESSMENT SYSTEM TO ACCOMMODATE DIVERSE LEARNING STYLES: A MATHEMATICS CASE STUDY. Tendai Dube University of Derby and Minhua Ma Glasgow School of Art. Objective. To accommodate diverse learning styles in a Mathematics e-assessment. What are learning styles?.

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slide1

DESIGN OF A FLEXIBLE E-ASSESSMENT SYSTEM TO ACCOMMODATE DIVERSE LEARNING STYLES: A MATHEMATICS CASE STUDY

Tendai Dube

University of Derby

and

Minhua Ma

Glasgow School of Art

slide2

Objective

  • To accommodate diverse learning styles in a Mathematics e-assessment
slide3

What are learning styles?

  • The different ways individuals prefer to acquire
  • information
  • The complex manners in which, and conditions
  • under which, learners most efficiently and most
  • effectively perceive, process, store and recall
  • what they are attempting to learn. (James and
  • Gardner 1995)
slide4

Categories of learning styles?

  • Field dependence – total field seen as a compact whole
  • Field independence – objects perceived as separate from

the field

  • Left brain – associated with logical processing and

sequential ordering

  • Right brain – process intuitively, holistically and randomly
  • Visual – prefers pictures, diagrams, charts, videos, etc.
  • Auditory – associated with spoken words and other

sounds

  • Kinesthetic – involves movement and hands on

experience

slide5

Why bother about learning styles

in e-assessment?

  • If a student prefers to learn in a particular way,

the learning process becomes easier

  • The student will be motivated to learn and that

can lead to them getting high grades

  • It can be argued that if learning can be influenced

by correctly matching student learning style and

resources, success in assessment can also be

influenced by correctly matching student learning

style and the types of questions they answer

  • E-assessment enables that flexibility
slide6

Design of the Mathematics e-assessment

  • Design 10 Mathematics questions (set by lecturers) to suit for
  • 4 different learning styles – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic and
  • Read/Write
  • Store the questions in a database per learning style (including
  • a random mixed set from the 4 styles to cater for multimodal
  • learning style)
  • Present each of the 10 questions set in different ways to the
  • students and instruct them to select their preferences giving
  • reasons for their choice.
  • Redirect students to the VARK learning style assessment
  • questionnaire to determine their learning style
  • Store the learning styles assessments results in the Maths
  • assessment database per student using their ID numbers
  • F.Present the Maths assessment matching the student’s
  • recorded learning style.
slide7

Question Design

  • Questions were set to suit the four perceptual
  • learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic,
  • Read/Write
  • Consider this example:
  • Original Question:
  • The mean weight of 5 chocolate bars is 50g. Sam ate one of the bars.
  • The remaining 4 chocolate bars have a mean weight of 40g. How heavy
  • was the bar that Sam ate?
  • Answer: 5 x 50 = 250g
  • 4 x 40 = 160g
  • 250 – 160 = 90g
slide8

Styled Question

1a. The mean weight of 5 chocolate bars is 50g. Sam ate one of the bars. The remaining 4 chocolate bars have a mean weight of 40g. How heavy was the bar that Sam ate? [for Read/Write learning style → text entry question type]

1b. You need headphones for this question. Listen to the question and write your answer in the box provided. (Choose the appropriate symbol for your answer from the drop down list.) [for Auditory learning style →text entry question type]

1c. The mean weight of 5 chocolate bars is 50g. Sam ate one of the bars. The remaining 4 chocolate bars have a mean weight of 40g. How heavy was the bar that Sam ate? [for Kinesthetic learning style →multiple choice question type]

a) 250g, b) 10g, c) 90g, d) 160g

1d. The mean weight of 5 chocolate bars is 50g. Sam ate one of the bars. The remaining 4 chocolate bars have a mean weight of 40g. How heavy was the bar that Sam ate? [for Visual learning style →multiple choice question type (as in 1c) with picture]

slide10

Database Design

  • MySQL relational database was used
  • Storage for:

- students’ details, preferred question choices,

marks given per question and results

- assessment questions and answer

- question types, learning styles referenced by id

numbers

- logs of interactions with the system

- reference numbers for images and audio files

  • Student’s number is used in the VARK learning style

assessment for consistent identification between systems

  • Learning style id is used to relate the different learning styles

to the questions and to students so that the system presents

the relevant questions according to the students’ learning

styles.

slide13

Learning styles recorded in database

  • NB: Learning style ids for students with student numbers 6

and 9 are set to 0 (default value) as their styles have not

been updated in the database.

slide14

From database

Record: Answer, Mark

Display question

Mark Answer

Display feedback

System Design

  • Follows a two-staged workflow from a student’s view:
  • Stage 1: Register > Choose preferred questions and justify

your choices > Complete VARK questionnaire

  • Stage 2: Log into system > Answer Maths questions >

Get feedback (expected answers, given answers and scores

per question)

  • Students interact with the system via a web interface
  • The system was developed using PHP scripting language
  • System main workflow is summarised here:
slide15

Initial Results

  • Results of the preferred question choice show that most

students prefer multiple choice questions because they

easily just pick an answer from those provided

  • Some indicated preference of reading the question

themselves rather than listening to it – an indication of

read/write learning style

  • Results from a survey indicate that generally students think

it’s a good idea to take assessments which suit their learning

style with some agreeing it can possibly lead to attainment

of good grades in summative assessments

  • Others think assessments should include a variety of

learning styles since in real life they will not require just their

style

  • The exercise both revealed and confirmed the students

learning styles

slide16

Conclusions and Future Work

  • Based on the results so far, it can be confirmed that people

have different preferences for the way they learn

  • Considering learning styles in learning, teaching and

assessment can help students achieve high grades

  • Students should also familiarise themselves with other styles

in order to prepare for real life situations

  • For future work, we consider using simple gif animations for

better presentation for the visual learning style

  • Results will continue to be gathered on this study and will be

shared on other platforms

slide17

References

James, W. B., and Gardner, D. L. (1995) 'Learning Styles: Implications for Distance Learning', New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, vol. 67, Fall 1995, pp. 19-32.

Link to the system -http://ciadweb.derby.ac.uk/maths/