A study of learning styles and team performance

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



This paper reports on a study that was performed over a 4-year long period in which the performance of undergraduate mechanical engineering students on a team project, enrolled in a senior mechanical systems course at the University of Rhode Island, was correlated with their learning styles as measured by the Brain Dominance Model. To measure the learning style of each student, the Brain Works program, developed by Synergistic Learning Incorporated, was used in this study due to its ease of administration and explanation of results. The students were asked to report to the instructor the two numbers that the program generated: one is a left/right brain measure and the other, an auditory/visual measure. In the first two years of this study, the 4-5 members of each team were grouped based on their learning styles score with the objective of forming teams with members whose scores are in three or more different quadrants of the left/visual plane. In the last two years, the teams were formed randomly, but the students were asked to report their learning styles scores. Data was also collected on the performance of each student in the course and in the team project. To determine if the learning styles have any correlation to the performance of the team, a correlation analysis was performed on combination of many variables some of which are exam grade, project grade, and composite learning score for the team. The results show that the competence level of the team as measured by the exam grade has the most influence on the team performance, while the learning style makeup of the team has a less pronounced effect.

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

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