The implementation of a successful engineering program to a synchronous online curriculum is subject to many impacting factors. One such factor, that has not seen much investigation, concerns learning styles. Student learning styles may have a dramatic influence on the success of a synchronous online deliverable engineering graphics curriculum. The immediate objective of this research was to look at the effectiveness of teaching Engineering Graphics with a synchronous online delivery method and to compare it to a more traditional face-to-face delivery method. Using Kolb's learning style inventory, student learning styles in both educational settings were investigated and analyzed to discover the student population's prevailing learning style. Data relating to class success was collected with surveys, personal feedback, and by observing overall student performance based on grades and responses to the survey material presented. The study targeted 6 separate sections of an engineering graphics course taught by the same instructor, in the same physical setting, and with identical curricula over a two-year period. Data analysis allowed for an introspective look into correlations between academic success and the learning styles of the students. Findings suggest that (1) Converger students receive significantly higher final course grades when they are in a synchronous online environment; (2) Assimilator and Converger synchronous online students show significant improved differences in their final open-ended project scores over their face-to-face taught peers, the prevalent learning style within the course. Suggestions to accommodate learning styles are present.
- Distance education, Engineering graphics, Face-to-face instruction, Kolb's learning style inventory, Synchronous online instruction