Empowering lifelong learners through knowledge of individual learning processes: a case study at one community college
According to Armstrong (1999), almost all students struggle at one point or another in their academic careers. True learning often eludes students due to ineffective study strategies, poor understanding of teacher expectations, limited knowledge of individual learning preferences, and a general confusion over what is superfluous and what is meaningful. The purpose of this study was to determine if students can learn strategies that enhance their ability to learn, reduce intimidation and, thus, manage stress during the learning process in order to maximize learning potential.;The case study method (Yin, 1994) was selected, with the research site being a small, rural Midwestern community college. Status sampling and snowball sampling techniques were utilized to identify research participants (primary data source), and other secondary data sources were used. The overarching research questions were: (1) What are the changes in learning when individual learners gain knowledge of their referred learning styles? (2) What do students perceive as the outcome of the Learning Style Analysis (LSA) tool and training on their educational and personal lives? The results of the study revealed six emergent themes: Theme ONE: Students Create Environments Conducive to Learning and Improve Study Skills. Theme TWO: Students Improve Grades and Reduce Stress Levels. Theme THREE: Students Gain Understanding and Appreciation of How They Best Learn; Improve Satisfaction and Confidence. Theme FOUR: Teachers Influence the Learning Experience. Theme FIVE: LSA Tool and Training Accurately Reflect Students' Learning Styles. Theme SIX: Communication Improves Between Students and Faculty.;This study has implications for students as well as educators who are interested in maximizing learning potential through learning strategies that reduce intimidation and manage stress during the learning process. The study revealed that changes took place in the learning of the students when the individual learners gained knowledge of their preferred learning styles. In addition, the majority of the students perceived the outcome of the LSA tools and training as having a positive impact on their educational experience. The community college in the study should continue to use the LSA tool and training, increase faculty involvement, add additional follow-up tools for the student, and reach out to other educational entities.