Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

John Matt

Commitee Members

Jean Bailey, Roberta Evans, Bill McCaw, Francee O'Reilly


distance education, generational student group, instructional practices, learning styles, online education, student satisfaction


University of Montana


The purpose of this study was to determine whether students associated with a generational group exhibit similar learning styles as identified by the Felder and Soloman Index of Learning Styles instrument. The secondary purpose was to determine to what degree these generational groups rate their satisfaction with online education through the use of the Distance Education Learning Environment Survey (DELES) instrument. The instruments were administered to Montana University System students who were enrolled in one or more fully online courses. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi-square, and ANOVA. The collected data of 1426 (n) from a total surveyed population of 9,983 students revealed that generational learning styles indicated statistically significant differences with regard to visual-verbal learning style preferences, but no other statistically significant differences related to preferences were determined between the generational groups. Further analysis of the DELES results indicated that there were statistically significant mean difference score comparisons among the Millennial Generation, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. Specifically, the Millennial Generation reported lower scores on overall satisfaction survey components as compared with both Generation X and Baby Boomer respondents. This study presents recommendations that may be used by faculty, instructional designers, and college leadership to address the continued growth and diversity of student populations. This increased awareness fostering an understanding on issues such as online program development, student satisfaction, and online student retention.



© Copyright 2013 Chad James Williams