CAN THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF ATHLETES IN SCIENCE COURSES BE RELATED TO THEIR LEARNING STYLES?
We designed a short questionnaire consisting of six multiple-choice questions to determine students' dominant learning styles. In our questionnaire, we attempted to encompass both synchronous (within the classroom) as well as asynchronous (outside the classroom) learning in an effort to effectively design not only in-class activities but also homework assignments and projects to facilitate learning by all end member learner groups. We distributed the questionnaire among 120 students enrolled in an introductory geology course, as well as among thirty eight student athletes (who represent the university in extramural athletic events) and coaches at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus. Analysis of the information thus obtained shows that the student athletes are disproportionately more likely to be hands-on, practical learners than non-athletes. Dominantly lecture based teaching strategies are least effective to reach students who learn best by physically manipulating objects. Here we suggest several in-class activities to complement commonly used teaching strategies in large lecture halls in order to facilitate learning for students who are hands-on learners.