A study of learning style and locus of control of traditional and non-traditional students in business education certification programs
The number of students aged 25 and older has increased significantly since 1970. Many of these students are enrolling for the purpose of obtaining teacher certification. Previous research indicates that student performance can improve when information relative to preferred learning styles is used in classroom instruction. This study investigated possible relationships between learning style, locus of control and selected demographic variables of business education students. The study attempted to determine If differences exist in learning style and locus of control between traditional and non-traditional students who are enrolled in business education classes for the purpose of obtaining teacher certification. Kolb's Learning Style Inventory (LSI) and the Rotter Internal- External Locus of Control Scale (l-E Scale) were administered to 55 students enrolled In courses required for business certification at four universities In Texas. A questionnaire was administered to ascertain if the students were traditional or non-traditional students. Results of the 40 responses were computer analyzed to determine whether there were significant differences in learning style and locus of control between traditional and non-traditional college students. Results of the analysis did not show any statistically significant difference between traditional and non-traditional students on the LSI, although In the group of traditional students there were no Assimilators and there were only two Divergers in the non-traditional student group. The analysis of scores on the l-E Scale did not indicate any statistically significant difference on locus of control between traditional and non-traditional students. In both groups, the majority were identified as having an internal locus of control. Although the results of the research do not indicate that students can be categorized by learning style according to their status as traditional or non-traditional students, the fact that students were represented in all of the four learning styles underscores the importance of acknowledging differences in learning styles in the classroom. The inability to obtain statistically significant results may be masked by the small sample size. Further research is needed to investigate a larger sample and to study other variables such as prior experiences and preferred teaching areas.