Learning styles as a tool for the education of Chemical Engineers
Adaptive and flexible learning environments are expected to be a critical strategic option for the competitiveness of educational institutes in the 21st century. In a multicultural society, as that of the European Union, as well as in global (open) educational systems, students have different backgrounds, levels of motivation, attitudes about learning, as well as preferences and approaches to studying. Therefore, there is a need for educators to identify the factors that support the shift from lecture-based teaching to active learning strategies with such variable class audiences. One of the most critical factors is the identification of the students’ learning styles.
This paper focuses on research models of learning styles and comments on the necessity, importance, and some positive and negative elements of various related approaches. In particular we assess the profile of a class of Chemical Engineering students who formed our research case study, through a pilot application of one of the approaches. Our target group was formed by the participants in the elective course “Topics of Information and Knowledge Society”, offered at the 2nd semester of the undergraduate curriculum of the School of Chemical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).
The ultimate purpose of the overall approach was to improve the teaching methodology, course material, and communication channels by indexing the students' learning styles in order for the course to be more interesting and useful to them.
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