Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Higher Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Kay, Jennifer S.


Distance education; Learning


Higher Education


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship that existed between learning style and performance outcome for a Distance Education setting. The study included three groups of students taking an introductory computer science course during the spring/02 semester at a small Community College in New Jersey. Each group was taught by the same instructor, used the same syllabus, and was expected to complete the same number and type of tests and assignments. However, the first group was a traditional lecture-based section. The second, was a traditional lecture-based section, but enhanced somewhat with a course web site interface. The last group was a non-traditional, distance education section, which completed all their course requirements via the web site interface.

The duration of the study lasted 16 weeks. Upon its conclusion the participants were given a questionnaire whose primary focus was to gather information about prior PC experience, prior programming experience, and the amount of time the student used the course web site. The results of this questionnaire coupled with individual learning style were further enhanced with demographic information, and were documented. Added to this was general progress, attendance, and participation information. A dominant learning style pattern seemed to emerge for the successful distance education student, one with a C average or better. This would lead one to conclude that a direct relationship does exist between learning style and performance outcome in a distance education setting.