Multimodal and Perceptual Learning Styles: Their Effect on Students’ Motivation in a Digital Environment

Carolina Girón-García, Noelia Gargallo-Camarillas

Abstract

The advent of various interactive multimedia networks in the English for Specific Purposes (ESP) classroom (Grabe & Grabe, 2007) has led to the emergence of new learning methodologies (Ming-Hung et al., 2017). Accordingly, new ways of learning are present in a multimodal environment, and have caused an effect on students’ degree of motivation, as well as on their learning styles (e.g., ‘multimodal’ and ‘perceptual’ learning styles).

The present study aims to analyse the degree of motivation of ESP learners with a ‘Multimodal’ learning style in contrast to those with ‘Multiple’ learning styles. In particular, this study addresses three research questions: (1) Has ‘Digital’ learning created a recent ‘perceptual’ learning style (i.e., ‘Multimodal’ learning style)? (2) To what extent does ‘digital’ learning increase ESP students’ motivation in comparison to ‘traditional’ learning? (3) Does the ‘Multimodal’ learning style heighten the degree of motivation in contrast to ‘Multiple’ learning style?

The study used a sample of 62 first-year ESP students taking the subject ‘Professional English for Communicators’ at a Spanish university. Data for this study were collected using ‘Wix’, as the main research tool, and two questionnaires which focused on students’ ‘Multimodal’ learning style and motivation: (a) ‘Multimodal Learning Styles Questionnaire’, designed to help students identify their preferences towards their learning process, and (b) ‘Motivation Questionnaire’, in order to get information regarding students’ perceptions for the enhancement of engagement.

Results suggest that the implementation of ‘Wix’ in the classroom increases students’ engagement in their learning process and fosters a new perceptual learning style (i.e., ‘multimodal’ learning style). These findings may help to identify to what extent digital resources affect students’ engagement and perceptual learning styles’ preferences. The results obtained from this research may be used to derive conclusions on how to approach the ‘Multimodal’ learning style in further student performances with digital tools that promote the training of digital literacies (Girón-García, 2013).


Keywords

Multimodal learning style; motivation; digital learning; ‘Wix’; ESP

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