Title

The importance of understanding student learning styles in accounting degree programs

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Cameron, R, Clark, P, De Zwaan, L, English, D, Lamminmaki, D, O'Leary, C, Rae, K & Sands, J 2015, 'The importance of understanding student learning styles in accounting degree programs', Australian Accounting Review, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 218-231.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/auar.12065

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Improvements in the tertiary education of accounting students benefit the profession. Analysis of the interaction of learning styles and teaching methodologies in accounting degree programs revealed that when learning styles matched teaching methods used, usefulness was assessed as high. When they differed, usefulness deteriorated. To maximise educational benefit this interaction should be considered, but this has resource implications. Accounting education is critical and any improvements in the tertiary education of accounting students should result in better prepared graduates entering the profession. This study evaluates accounting students’ learning styles and the interaction of learning styles and teaching methodologies in degree programs. Nine classes of accounting students (648 students) spread across four years and two degree programs were evaluated. Students self-evaluated their learning styles, pre-instruction. They were then subject to two separate teaching techniques (one active and one passive) in each course. Learning styles were then re-assessed and teaching techniques evaluated. Accounting students displayed a preference for passive learning, even those far advanced in their degrees. Furthermore, when learning styles matched teaching methods used, usefulness was assessed as high but when learning styles and teaching methods differed, usefulness deteriorated. Overall, active learners rather than passive learners deemed the teaching methods to be more effective. The implications are significant. To maximise educational benefit for the accounting profession, student learning styles should be assessed before designing appropriate teaching methodologies. This has resource implications, which would have to be considered.