Student Profiling as a Tool for Inclusive Instructional Design: A Case of a 3rd Year Biotechnology Class, University of Namibia

Timothy Sibanda, Nchindo R. Mbukusa, Ezekiel G. Kwembeya


Massification of Higher Education (HE) has made it difficult for teachers to design instructional strategies that are responsive to the diverse student needs. We here argue that student profiling is a handy tool that the HE teacher can use for inclusive instructional design by thoughtfully selecting learning and teaching strategies, and materials and supports that will maximise student achievement. We designed a student-profiling instrument focusing on capturing students’ biographical information, learning preferences, anticipated learning outcomes, personality traits, and learning related skills-set and administered to students in a 3rd Year Biotechnology class at the University of Namibia. The data on learning style preferences was analysed using the VARK Questionnaire (version 8.01) while a Chi-square (?2) test of association (SPSS software version 24) was used to determine whether there was a relationship between students’ preferred learning styles and the other variables. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the students had multimodal learning preferences while 25% were unimodal for kinesthetic learning style. No students preferred visual or auditory learning alone. The ?2 test revealed no significant relationship between students’ preferred learning styles and any of the other variables including age, place of origin, home language, home setting, residence during school semester, pre-course anticipation, skills set, and personality traits (P > 0.05). We conclude that profiling students’ learning preferences prior to teaching and learning helps HE teachers to tailor their instructional strategies to students’ learning style preferences, maximises epistemological access, as well as enhance inclusivity, equality and equity.

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