The Effect of Individual Learning Styles on Student GPA in Engineering Education at Morgan State University

  • S. Keith Hargrove
  • John A. Wheatland
  • Duowen Ding
  • Cordelia M. Brown
Keywords: Learning style, Kolb's Learning Style Inventory, learning environment, statistical method, project team environment, GPA


The Clarence M. Mitchell School of Engineering at Morgan State University (MSU) is one of nine historically Black colleges and universities with undergraduate engineering programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Since 2001, the School of Engineering at MSU has been a participant in a multi-school project called "Implementing the BESTTEAMS (Building Engineering Student Team Effectiveness and Management System) Model of Team Development Across the Curriculum." The project's primary purpose is to introduce collaboration and teamwork in engineering education to improve the educational process and prepare students to work in collaborative environments after graduation. As part of the BESTTEAMS model, students in the freshman course, Introduction to Engineering, are given the Kolb's Learning Style Inventory, a survey designed to measure learning styles. This paper will examine the relationship between students' learning styles, major, gender, and academic performance in engineering at MSU. The cumulative GPA at the end of the first year for first-time freshmen that completed Introduction to Engineering was recorded and analyzed to determine the relationship between learning style preference and cumulative GPA by major and gender. It is the long term intent of this exploratory study to determine if learning styles are a major consideration in designing courses to improve academic performance and achievement in engineering and if there is a significant difference between the relationship of learning styles and academic performance when gender is considered.