Relationship between Student Satisfaction
and Learning Style of Distance Learner:
A Case Study of AIOU, Islamabad
Jamshed Khan
*
Abstract
The study aimed to find out relationship between satisfaction and
learning style of distance learners enrolled at M.Ed. program at Allama
Iqbal Open University Islamabad. It was a co relational study and was
carried out by selecting a sample of 351 students through stratified
random sampling procedure. Students’ satisfaction was measured by
using student Satisfaction Survey developed by Strachota (2006) while
their learning style was assessed using Grasha-Riechmann Student
Learning Styles Scale.
It was found that learning style components were positively
correlated with students’ satisfaction except avoidant learning style
which was negatively correlated with components of satisfaction. Steps
may be taken to develop collaborative and participant learning styles in
distance learners. Learners maybe encouraged to increase interaction
with each other. Distance learning tutors should be trained for better
interaction and communication with students.
Keywords: Satisfaction, learning style, interaction, distance learners
*
SST, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, KPK, Pakistan.
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 36
Introduction
Learning is a process that brings together cognitive, emotional, and
environmental influences for acquiring, enhancing, or changing one's
knowledge, skills, and values. Learning is an important activity and is
central to the educational process.“Learning is an interactive process that
occurs in a specific environment” (Hamidah, Sarina, and Kamaruzaman,
2009, p.58). Many variables like teacher’s characteristics, student’s
characteristics, learning environment, and course content and subjects
taken can affect the learning process.
Education and learning is important for cultural, moral socio-
economic and political development of a nation. Distance education is
performing the same functions and many open universities have been
established throughout the world. Educational opportunities are
increasingly being made available to students through distance education
who do not live near institutions of higher learning. It has given rise to
the need for improved quality in distance education especially with
regard to students’ satisfaction and learning styles.
Students’ satisfaction may be related to their learning styles.
Students may enroll in distance education program based on their
learning preferences. Student success in distance education may,
therefore, depend on understanding their learning style and satisfaction.
These areas need further exploration in Pakistani context as the
instructors, the course designers, and the students need further
knowledge of these areas and can also help universities to improve their
distance learning programs.
Review of Literature
Satisfaction is “the extent to which one enjoys a class” (Bennett,
2001, p.12). Cultural differences influence the level of students’
satisfaction regarding their perception of the services (Tian & Wang,
2010). Satisfaction includes issues of perception and experiences of
students and is shaped by repeated experiences on campus (Ilias, Hasan,
Rahman, and Yasoa, 2008). Institutions of higher education are
emphasizing student satisfaction because of competitive pressures.
Student satisfaction is related to recruitment, retention, and academic
success. Universities are paying attention to such factors to attract
students and create a supportive learning environment. Understanding
and meeting these expectations are important to develop effective
Relationship between Student Satisfaction and Learning Style of Distance Learner 37
learning environments. Student satisfaction builds self-confidence which
helps students become more confident, develop useful skills, and acquire
knowledge in a virtuous cycle (Letcher and Neves, 2010).
Students have their own style of learning that may vary from
situation to situation. Learners prefer different learning styles, have
different motivation for learning, and also differ in confidence, and pace
of study. A better awareness of learning style can lead to better learning
(Kanninen, 2009).According to Vaishnav (2013) learning style is a set of
factors, attitude and behaviors that facilitate students’ learning in a given
situation. It is the ability of learners to perceive and process information.
Learning style is the cognitive, affective, social, and physiological
behaviors that provide a relatively stable indicator of how learners
perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment.
Learning styles influence how students learn and are influenced by
personal experiences, culture, maturity level and development. Each
learner has distinct and constant preferred ways of organization,
perceptions, and retention.
Grasha and Riechmann (1999) have reported various learning styles
including competitive learning styles, collaborative learning style, and
avoidant learning style, participant learning style, dependent learning
style, and independent learning style. Hsiao, Yang, Huang, and Zhu
(2008) also endorsed these six types of learning style. Individual learning
styles differ and play important role in the area of education. Learning
style is closely related to cognitive style, however, it is best regarded as
an extension to cognitive style to distinguish learning from simple
processing of information (Logan and Thomas, 2002). Therefore, there is
need to understand student satisfaction and learning styles. Various
research studies have been conducted for the purpose.
Researches about Satisfaction and Learning Style
Studies about the relationship between learning style and satisfaction
are mixed. Diaz and Cartnal (1999) found that students who enrolled in
the distance education were significantly more independent learners than
the equivalent on-campus students. On campus students were
significantly more dependent learners than distance education students.
Thus, on-campus students’ favored collaborative styles as that it helped
them to get the rewards of the class. On the other hand, online students
were willing and able to work in collaborative teaching styles if the
teacher made it clear that this was expected, and gave them form and
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 38
guidance for the purpose. Online students were driven more by intrinsic
motives and not by the reward structure of the class.
Simon (2000) presented that students whose learning style matched
training methodology were more successful in learning outcomes,
reported higher satisfaction, and higher level of computer use. Hong
(2002) found that learning styles and perceptions of student–student
interactions and course activities were not related to satisfaction and
achievement. Students who perceived the student –instructor interactions
positively performed well, and were more satisfied with the course.
Students also expected instructor-led learning. Banwet and Datta (2003)
found that it was probable for satisfied students to attend another lecture
delivered by the same lecturer or opt for another course taught by
him/her.
Garland and Martin (2005) found a difference in the learning style of
the online student and the student in the face-to-face course and that
gender was a factor in the relationship between learning style and student
engagement. When designing online courses the learning style and
gender of students must be considered. Batista and Cornachione (2005)
found that various learning styles as presented by Kolb were present in
their sample but found no evidence of individual learning style influence
on satisfaction and learning.
Erwin (2008) found no significant relationship between learning
style and satisfaction; however the number of years learners spent in the
program had a significant relationship with learners’ satisfaction. Overall
student satisfaction was medium to low.
Meyers (2010) reported that majority of students had the
combination of learning preferences. However no significant relationship
was found between a student's learning style and satisfaction with online
education, but a relationship existed between course satisfaction and
instructor satisfaction. Gurpinar, Alimoglu, Mamakli, and Aktekin
(2010) reported that assimilating learning style predicted student
satisfaction and success in theoretical exams. Aliweh (2011) found that
gender had some effect on students’ learning style preferences, but had
no effect on students’ satisfaction.
Lees (2011) reported significant relationships between the
Active/Reflective and Sequential/Global learning style students toward
training content. Significant relationships were found between gender
and satisfaction toward training method and training content with male
students showing greater satisfaction. Similarly significant relationship
was found for the Visual/Verbal subgroup between learning style and
training format and faculty satisfaction toward overall training. Training
Relationship between Student Satisfaction and Learning Style of Distance Learner 39
method was strongly correlated to satisfaction than learning style for
subgroups of Active/Reflective, Sensing/Intuitive, and Sequential/Global
students
Cox and Tsai (2013) reported that the learning preferences of
students were balanced learners in the active-reflective and the
sequential-global dimensions. They also found that the sensing-intuitive
dimension of learning preferences was a strong predictor of students’
learning satisfaction.
Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of the study were;
To explore the satisfaction of distance learners.
To determine the learning styles of the distance learners
To find out the relationship between satisfaction and learning style of
distance learners.
Hypotheses of the Study
The following were the hypotheses of the study.
H
o.
There is no significant relationship between satisfaction and learning
style of distance learners.
H
1.
There is a significant relationship between satisfaction and learning
style of distance leaners.
Methodology of the Study
It was a co relational research designed for exploring relationship
between the variables.
Population and Sample
The population for this study was students of M.Ed. program of
Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad. The population comprised of
3529 students enrolled in the core courses of the M.Ed. program offered
by the university. A sample of 351 students was selected through
stratified random sampling procedure as sample for the purpose of study.
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 40
Instrumentation
Satisfaction of distance learners was measured by using Student
Satisfaction Survey developed by Strachota (2006) while their learning
style was assessed by using Grasha-Riechmann Student Learning Styles
Scale. A pilot test was conducted for establishing reliability and validity
of instruments. The Cronbach’s alpha for items on the scales ranged from
0.70 to 0.87 showing internal consistency of the items.
The instruments were administered by post. Pearson Product
Movement Coefficient of Correlation were used for determining
relationship between variables. Computer software programs like IBM
SPSS statistics 21 for Windows and Microsoft’s Excel 2007 professional
were used for statistical analyses.
Major Findings, Analysis and Interpretation of Data
Table 1 Relationship between learning style and satisfaction (N=283)
p<0.05
The Table showed that various learning styles were positively
correlated with each other with the exception that avoidant learning style
was negatively correlated with collaborative and participant learning
styles. Similarly components of satisfaction were positively correlated
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
1
Independent
-.022
.047
.093
.188
*
.235
*
.112
.092
.143
*
.221
*
.131
*
2
Avoidant
-.151
*
.228
*
.173
*
-.157
*
-.234
*
-.248
*
-.305
*
.100
-.262
*
3
Collaborative
.356
*
.486
*
.175
*
.198
*
.384
*
.246
*
.323
*
.233
*
4
Dependent
.473
*
.418
*
.169
*
.419
*
.156
*
.261
*
.295
*
5
Competitive
.406
*
.164
*
.283
*
.126
*
.138
*
.157
*
6
Participant
.410
*
.333
*
.296
*
.210
*
.479
*
7
Learner
content
interaction
.390
*
.322
*
.140
*
.467
*
8
Learner
instructor
interaction
.529
*
.176
*
.539
*
9
Learner-
learner
interaction
.096
.303
*
10
Learner
technology
interaction
.126
*
11
General
satisfaction
Relationship between Student Satisfaction and Learning Style of Distance Learner 41
with each other with the exception that learner-learner interaction was
not correlated with learner technology interaction.
The table also showed that independent learning style was not
correlated with learner-content interaction (r=0.112, p<0.05) and learner
instructor interaction (r=0.092, p<0.05) but positively and significantly
correlated with learner-learner interaction (r=0.143, p<0.05), with
learner-technology interaction (r=0.221, p<0.05), and with general
satisfaction (r=0.131, p<0.05). Avoidant learning style was negatively
correlated with learner-content interaction (r=-0.234, p<0.05), and
negatively correlated with learner-instructor interaction (r=-0.248,
p<0.05), and also negatively correlated with learner-learner interaction
(r=-0.305, p<0.05), and also with general satisfaction (r=-0.262, p<0.05)
but it was not correlated with learner-technology interaction (r=0.100,
p<0.05). Collaborative learning style was positively and significantly
correlated with learner-content interaction (r=0.198, p<0.05), learner-
instructor interaction (r=0.384, p<0.05), learner-learner interaction
(r=0.246, p<0.05), learner-technology interaction (r=0.323, p<0.05), and
also with general satisfaction (r=0.233, p<0.05). Similarly Dependent
learning style was positively and significantly correlated with learner-
content interaction (r=0.169, p<0.05), learner-instructor interaction
(r=0.419, p<0.05), learner-learner interaction (r=0.156, p<0.05), learner-
technology interaction (r=0.261, p<0.05), and also with general
satisfaction (r=0.295, p<0.05). Furthermore Competitive learning style
was positively and significantly correlated with learner-content
interaction (r=0.164, p<0.05), learner-instructor interaction (r=0.283,
p<0.05), learner-learner interaction (r=0.126, p<0.05), learner-
technology interaction (r=0.138, p<0.05), and also with general
satisfaction (r=0.157, p<0.05). Participant learning style was also
positively and significantly correlated with learner-content interaction
(r=0.410, p<0.05), learner-instructor interaction (r=0.333, p<0.05),
learner-learner interaction (r=0.296, p<0.05), learner-technology
interaction (r=0.210, p<0.05), and also with general satisfaction
(r=0.479, p<0.05).
The bivariate correlation results indicated that there was significant
positive correlation between learning style and satisfaction with the
exception that avoidant learning style was negatively correlated with
various components of satisfaction. Therefore, research hypothesis that
there is a significant relationship between satisfaction and learning styles
of distant learners was accepted with the exception that avoidant learning
style was negatively correlated with various components of satisfaction
while null hypothesis was rejected.
Pakistan Journal of Distance & Online Learning [Vol. II, Issue II, 2016] 42
Conclusion
Learning style components were mostly positively and significant
correlated with components of satisfaction except avoidant learning style
which was negatively correlated with components of satisfaction.
Discussion and Recommendation
Teacher with understanding students’ learning styles can adapt their
teaching to students with different learning styles. These teachers can
motivate student learning. The students who know their own learning
style become better learners and develop more positive attitudes about
their studies (Orhun and Orhun, 2007). The learning styles that identified
in Grasha-Riechmann Learning Style Scale can at as a guideline for
teachers in ensuring that their teaching and learning sessions are suitable
for their students. (Khalid, Mokhtar, and Omar et,al., 2013). Educational
psychologists need to develop insights into the different learning styles.
If students can be enabled to be more aware of themselves and the ways
in which they are likely to achieve better, they can be encouraged to
develop effective and flexible learning styles. (Jilardi, Mahyuddin, Elias,
Daud, and Shabani, 2011) as individual learning styles differ and play
important role in the area of education.
Teachers should know the usefulness of learning styles for effective
learning. The learning styles do not change with subjects, where it plays
an important role across all the subjects. Successful learner learns in
different ways. However, students with one or two learning styles can
improve when taught through different learning styles (Abidin, et.al.
2011). The researcher took the psychological dimension of the learning-
styles while the physiological and sociological dimensions were not
explored. A reason behind it was that satisfaction is also a psychological
phenomenon which varies from person to person. A person may be
satisfied with one thing while another person might not be satisfied with
the same thing. Furthermore physiological and psychological aspects are
not completely different but are two sides of a coin-each coin completing
and giving meaning to the other. It is worthwhile to investigate the issue
for other courses in different settings.
Relationship between Student Satisfaction and Learning Style of Distance Learner 43
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