Effects of Matching Learner/instructor Preferred Learning Strategies on Success and Perceived Satisfaction in Athletic Training Students: An Application of Homophily Theory
Author(s)Prather, Jason Lee
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to investigate if matching athletic training students and athletic training instructors based on their preferred learning strategies would have a positive effect on the student�s perceived satisfaction and success. Success was defined by student grades in four common athletic training core courses. In this study the Assessing The Learning Strategies of AdultS (ATLAS) instrument was used to determine the learning strategies of the athletic training students and athletic training instructors. The theory of homophily was used to develop the theoretical framework for the study. This theoretical framework was used to determine what effect matched learning strategies between students and instructors had versus mismatched learning strategies. This line of inquiry guided the researcher and the six research questions used in the study. There were four athletic training programs surveyed for this study yielding 53 athletic training students and 14 athletic training instructors. The initial survey was delivered to the instructors and students via Qualtrics which did not yield the desired number of participants so a survey was delivered face-to-face to 3 of the 4 universities, yielding an improved sample size. Both students and instructors completed a demographics survey and the ATLAS survey, with the students also completing an additional satisfaction survey. Descriptive statistics, 1-way chi squares, independent sample t-tests, and ANOVAs were used for data analysis. Both the sample of athletic training instructors and students were found to have ATLAS scores not matching the general population. Contrary to theoretical expectations, mismatched students were found to have a higher perceived satisfaction level, as well as equally high academic success. Student demographics were generally independent of satisfaction and success when analyzed in conjunction with learning strategies. Limitations in the study�s sample size and descriptive research design, plus numerous questions raised by the study, positioned the study as an opening step in a multivariate line-of-inquiry research program integrating learner characteristics, instructional environments, and aspects of homophily theory.