An exploratory study on group formation based on learning styles

Liu, Shuangyan; Joy, Mike and Griffiths, Nathan (2013). An exploratory study on group formation based on learning styles. In: Proceedings, 2013 IEEE 13th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies ICALT 2013, pp. 95–99.



Recent work has highlighted how consideration of learning styles in the process of group formation for collaborative learning can have a positive impact. This paper investigates the performance of similar learning style groups and diverse learning style groups in group work, and explores how a grouping algorithm based on students' learning styles affects students' learning achievements and processes. An empirical study with current undergraduate students in the UK has been conducted. The participating students were invited to accomplish two group discussion tasks. Each student performed the two activities, in a separate group each time, once in a group consisting of students with similar learning styles, once in a group with diverse learning styles. No volunteer shared both groups with any individual student. This paper focuses on analysing the learning achievements and collaboration processes for the two types of groups, particularly with respect to the quality of group interactions. A significant difference was found between the percentages of time spent on meaningful interactions by the two types of groups, revealing that diverse learning style groups tend to spend significantly more time on meaningful interactions than similar learning style groups. In addition, the diverse learning style groups had demonstrated significantly less negative social-emotional reactions in showing disagreements.

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