Cognitive styles and instructional design in university learning
Changes in conceptualization and measurement of the verbalizer-visualizer dimension led us to re-examine the hypothesis that students learn best when instructional material matches their cognitive style. First-year psychology university students (n = 41) studied information on three personality theories presented in text only, text+picture, or text+schematic diagram format, demonstrated recall and comprehension of each theory, and completed an adapted cognitive styles questionnaire. Spatial and object visual scale scores were not correlated, but the latter showed a significant though relatively weak negative correlation with verbal scale scores. Recall could be predicted from students' verbal and object visual scores when presentation format matched these cognitive styles. All three styles significantly predicted students' comprehension, but only when they matched the presentation format. The results support the distinction between spatial and object visual styles, and provide evidence that learning outcomes improve when instructional material is matched to students' cognitive styles.
Learning and Individual Differences