The Instructional Effect of Online Reading Strategies and Learning Styles on Student Academic Achievement

By Hsieh, Pei-Hsuan; Dwyer, Francis | Educational Technology & Society, April 2009 | Go to article overview

The Instructional Effect of Online Reading Strategies and Learning Styles on Student Academic Achievement


Hsieh, Pei-Hsuan, Dwyer, Francis, Educational Technology & Society


Introduction

Many studies have found reading strategies useful when implemented before, during or after reading (e.g., Brown,2002; Ediger, 2005; Fagan, 2003; McGlinchey & Hixson, 2004; Millis & King, 2001; Sorrell, 1996). For example, reading strategies include rereading, scanning, summarizing, keywords, context clues, question-answer relationships, inferring, thinking aloud, activating prior knowledge, setting a purpose, and drawing conclusions. Online learning environments are becoming popular for most teachers and students. However, few studies focus on appropriate online reading strategies for different types of learners, and most studies focus only on the effectiveness of text-based reading strategies.

The online learning environment has become more and more popular for educators and learners, due to its multiple visual and audio representations. Online learning is a trend that has the potential to enhance learning and increases the importance of knowledge of new teaching methods which apply to new learning environments (Jung, 2001; Romero, Berger, Healy & Aberson, 2000). According to previous studies, some learners encounter difficulties learning online, since they have difficulty changing their learning habits to accept reading electronic texts (Aragon, 2004; Steinhauer & Friederici, 2001). Learners feel doubtful about their learning abilities and believe that they are not as skilled as readers who can overcome the changes in the learning process. Some learners, contrarily, always try their hardest to adapt to the current learning environment, since they believe that they will eventually become comfortable with reading electronic materials (Ehrlich, Kurtz-Costes & Loridant, 1993; Ferguson, 1999; Schommer-Aikins & Easte, 2006). The question remains: What is the best way to employ a text-based reading strategy in an online environment, so that the learners can maintain their confidence for learning?

In addition, students with their own learning styles may process information differently in an online environment (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1969; Burton, Moore & Holmes, 1995; Huitt, 2003). Different online reading strategies may influence the students' information processing methods (Driscoll, 2005; Schunk, 2004). This study seeks to discover the proper ways of employing online reading strategies and explores the effects of those online reading strategies and different learning styles on academic achievement. Most studies indicated that students regarded as having an internal locus of control learning style used significantly more reading strategies than students having an external locus of control learning style (Cappella & Weinstein, 2001; Fehrenbach, 1991; Maguiness, 1999; Rotter, 1966). In order to consider readers of every learning style, this study focuses on during reading process and considers implementation of different during online reading strategies to complement different information processing. During reading strategies are varied, since more and more visual presentations occur in web learning environments for teachers and students. However, the effects of implementing during reading strategies for different learning styles in an online environment have not been investigated. In addition, not all reading strategies are equally effective methods in facilitating reading comprehension (Baumann et al., 2002). For example, rereading strategies ask readers to read a text more than one time to enhance reading comprehension before readers proceed to the next text. Context clue reading strategies, however, use phonic instructions to help readers gain speed and accuracy in identifying words as they read through a text. Readers may not sequentially comprehend the whole content at the same time as they recognize an unknown word under phonic instructions (Baumann et al., 2002; Ediger, 2005; McGlinchey & Hixson, 2004).

Not all during reading strategies are appropriate for an online environment. …

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