Patterns and Instructional Preferences of Career and Technical Education Students

Abstract

In an effort to individualize instruction and improve the effectiveness of instructor-learner transactions, education and instructional research has addressed a wide assortment of learner variables and assessed their relationships to instructional methods and environments. Frequently included in this research are analyses of how information is obtained and processed. Identified in the literature alternatively as learning style, cognitive style, or cognitive control, these variables are learner classifications that describe how a student approaches, acquires, processes, and uses information in addressing learning tasks. An individual's specific learning classification conveys his or her preferred approach to learning tasks and charts his or her particular instructional needs. Adult education has recently seen the development by Conti and Kolody (2004) of a new model for the study and classification of learning preferences, which they call learning strategies. To accompany their model, they created a new assessment instrument named Assessing the Learning Strategies of Adults, or ATLAS. Although learning strategy research using the ATLAS test has appeared in dissertations and other, less formal, research, it has not yet developed a sizeable base in peer-reviewed, published literature. Nevertheless, the ATLAS learning strategies are grounded historically and theoretically in concepts of psychological types and learner differences, and their wider use may provide means for educators to identify learning preferences and may suggest methods for instructors to individualize and strengthen their students' learning experiences. 7 While the ATLAS assessment of learning strategies and associated instructional preferences has not yet been applied directly to career and technical education (CTE) students, it has been used in studies of several other non-traditional populations. Aspects of existing ATLAS research that may be of particular interest to career and technical educators are the findings that (a) the distribution of learning strategies of non-traditional students differ from those of the general population, (b) specific strategy types differ in their associated instructional preferences, and (c) knowledge of learners' preferred learning strategies and favored instructional methods improves learning performance. Study Purpose The purpose of this study was to apply the ATLAS test to identify and describe the learning strategies and the associated instructional preferences of students in CTE programs and to compare these results with those found in previous ATLAS studies of non-traditional learner populations. The study also sought to determine if the ATLAS results for the CTE students were consistent with ATLAS learning strategy theory. In addition the researchers strove to assess the perceived accuracy of …

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Ausburn2007PatternsAI, title={Patterns and Instructional Preferences of Career and Technical Education Students}, author={Lynna J. Ausburn and Dovie Brown}, year={2007} }