Dissertation submitted

I submitted my dissertation to ProQuest/UMI today for publication. Here’s the final abstract:

This study examined the relationships among learner generation, learning style, and preference for using social networking for learning, in order to identify factors that might contribute to improving the design and development of effective online instruction. There is debate in the literature over whether millennial learners have a unique learning style that requires new strategies for instructional design and delivery, and therefore empirical research was needed to verify whether such a unique set of learning preferences exists. The study’s goal was to determine whether there are different approaches to learning between older and younger learners. A quantitative design was used that compared the learning styles and social networking preferences of three generational groups (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials). Forty-two participants completed two survey instruments. The first solicited demographic information and participant usage of technology. In addition, the Inventory of Learning Styles (ILS) was used to determine the preferred learning style of study participants (Vermunt, J. D. [1994]. Inventory of Learning Styles [ILS] in higher education. Tilburg: University of Tilburg). The surveys yielded data for three categorical variables: “generation,” “learning style,” and “social networking preference” (which included four preference factors: “access to technology,” “frequency of use,” “technology skill,” and “preference for technology”). Cross-tabulation and Chi-square tests of independence were used to determine the relationships of generation and learning style, learning style and social networking preference, and generation and social networking preference. Ordinal logistic regression was used to determine the interactions of learning style, generation, and social networking preference. Data analysis suggests there is no significant relationship between generation and learning style, between learning style and social networking preference, and between generation and social networking preference. Due to the small sample size, the ordinal logistic regression procedure could not be run to determine the interactions of learning style, generation, and social networking preference. The study results do not confirm the existence of a relationship between learner’s age, learning style, and preference for using social networking technologies for learning. These findings are significant because they contradict the assertions of some researchers that there is a unique learning style among millennial learners.