Title: The effect of adaptive performance support system on learning achievements of students

Authors: Piet Kommers, Slavi Stoyanov, Nevena Mileva, Catalina Martinez Mediano

Addresses: Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands. ' Educational Technology Expertise Centre, Open University of the Netherlands, PO Box 2960, 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands. ' Department of Electronics Communication and Information Technology, Plovdiv University, 24, Tzar Assen, 4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria. ' Faculty of Education, National University of Distance Education, Madrid 28040, Spain

Abstract: The study compares the effectiveness of two performance support systems, adaptive and non-adaptive, on learning achievements of engineering students. In addition, the research design controls for a possible effect of learning style. The analysis reveals that students working with an adaptive performance support system score significantly higher than students using a non-adaptive performance system on a performance test across different learning styles. The only variation in the two experimental conditions, manipulated in the study, is embedded adaptive arrangement based on learning style. Embedded adaptation mode accommodates learning preferences of students through the structure of learning content as an association between types of learning content and different learning styles is assumed. Learning style does not produce a significant difference in the performance achievements of students and there is no indication for an interaction effect between performance support system as a method of instruction and learning style. These results are explained by two theoretical positions introduced in the background of the study, namely coping behaviour and the distinction between level and style type of cognitive constructs.

Keywords: adaptive performance support systems; embedded adaptation; learning style; treatment-by-learner traits interaction; treatment-by-learning outcomes interaction; learning achievements; engineering students; engineering education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2008.018837

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2008 Vol.18 No.3, pp.351 - 365

Published online: 19 Jun 2008 *

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