Assessing Learning Styles of Students at Zayed University

Tofi Rahal, David Palfreyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Learning styles based education is becoming influential at higher education institutions around the world. Learning styles are characteristics of how students prefer to learn; they draw their origin from both biological and experiential conditions that make each student unique in the way he/she learns. An important first step in improving learning is to identify or assess students’ learning styles, and there are several instruments that can be used for this purpose. This is necessary for teachers and students who wish to improve learning and study strategies. Students who perform poorly in a conventional educational setting may suffer from a mismatch of learning and teaching styles; for example kinesthetic learners may not adapt to learning by listening or by reading. When we teach tactual and/or kinesthetic students by talking, they focus for only a brief amount of time and then wander off into their own thoughts and quickly forget (Burke & Dunn, 2002). We can improve students’ academic performance by providing them with alternative strategies and activities that respond to their learning style needs (Dunn & Dunn, 1993). In spring 2008, the learning styles of over 700 Zayed University students were assessed using the BE (Building Excellence) survey developed by Rundle & Dunn. The data collected is being analyzed with a view to making recommendations for teachers, students and parents to improve students’ learning. This paper represents the first in a series of publications on this subject; it reviews the survey process, and focuses on the nature and learning preferences of ZU students in perceptual elements (e.g. visual, auditory) and cognitive elements (e.g. Analytic-sequential (left-brain) vs. Global-simultaneous (right-brain) preferences).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-35
Number of pages34
JournalLearning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing Learning Styles of Students at Zayed University'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this