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Matching/mismatching revisited: an empirical study of learning and teaching styles

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This paper presents results of a research project that explored the relationship between matching and mismatching instructional presentation style (breadth-first and depth-first) with students' cognitive style (field-dependence/-independence) in a computer-based learning environment. 73 postgraduate students were asked to create Web pages using HTML, using instructional materials that were either matched or mismatched with their cognitive styles. Significant differences in performance on a multiple choice test of conceptual knowledge were found for students learning in matched and mismatched conditions. Performance in matched conditions was significantly superior to that in mismatched conditions. However, significant effects were found for gender, matching mainly affecting male students. Performance on a practical test of Web page creation was not linked to matching or mismatching, but was linked to an interaction between gender and instructional presentation style. The findings provide support for the notion that matching and mismatching can have significant effects on learning outcomes. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8535.00173

Affiliations: Department of Information Studies, Sheffield University, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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