Figland, W., Blackburn, J., Stair, K., & Burnet, M. (2021). Investigating the effects of cognitive style diversity on the hypothesis generation and troubleshooting ability of undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory agricultural mechanics course at Louisiana State University. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(1), 156-169. http://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.01156

Problem solving has been regarded as one of the most important cognitive skills in everyday life. The
complexity of problem solving in technical areas is a critical component to developing the problem
solving abilities of agricultural education students. This study grounded in Kirton’s Adaptation-
Innovation Theory (A-I Theory), sought to identify the effects of cognitive style diversity on the time to
solution and hypothesis generation ability of undergraduate students enrolled in an agricultural
mechanics course at Louisiana State University during the spring semester of 2018 (n = 17) and spring
semester of 2019 (n = 15). Students were divided into three groups based on their Kirton’s Adaptation-
Innovation Inventory (KAI) scores into three cognitive style diversity groups including (a) homogenous
innovative, (b) homogenous adaptive, and (c) heterogenous. Overall, the more heterogeneous cognitive
style diversity group was able to solve the problem more quickly as well as being the most successful
group to hypothesize correctly, with the homogeneous innovator group being the slowest to reach
conclusion. From the results of this study, it is recommended that educators consider cognitive styles
when grouping students in undergraduate courses that are heavily laboratory based.

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