The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in
Teaching Ecological Disciplines
Tetiana M. Derkach
1 a
, Tetiana V. Starova
2 b
and Alexander V. Krajnikov
3 c
Kyiv National University of Technologies and Design, 2 Nemyrovycha-Danchenka Str., Kyiv, 01011, Ukraine
Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University, 54 Gagarin Ave., Kryvyi Rih, 50086, Ukraine
Frantsevych Institute for Problems of Materials Science, 3 Krzhizhanivsky Str., Kyiv, 03142, Ukraine
Learning Styles and Preferences, Electronic Resources, Teaching Ecological Chemistry, Plant Pollution.
The paper aims to optimise electronic resources used in teaching ecological chemistry following the educa-
tional preferences of students. An approach is used to select e-resources in accordance with the available
individual learning preferences of students, teaching styles of teachers and the content of the discipline. The
R. Felder and B. Soloman model studied the learning preferences of students of Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical
University majoring in chemistry and informatics and students of Kyiv National University of Technologies
and Design majoring in industrial pharmacy. Most students in both groups study visually, sensitively, ac-
tively and sequentially. Didactic materials on the theme “Ecological chemistry of the lithosphere” of the con-
tent module “Ecological chemistry of environmental objects” were elaborated according to student groups’
learning profiles. Expanding the content of the course of ecological chemistry is proposed by including an
additional topic on the problems of environmental pollution of medicinal plants. The new topics’ content is
considered to better match the educational material with the prevailing sensitive learning style in most stu-
dents and simultaneously strengthen the ecological component and form the necessary competencies in future
professionals. Forms of work that involve the use of different cognitive functions are described and therefore
contribute to their balanced development. It allows a person to be flexible in the unrestrained development of
technological progress, be open to different ways of obtaining information, and perceive it without resistance
and stress.
Sustainable development of society implies the devel-
opment of the economy, which provides natural sys-
tems’ ability to recover and exist stably. Under such
conditions, resources are used to meet human needs
without erosion of natural systems’ integrity and sta-
bility. The goals in sustainable development, formu-
lated at the UN level, aim to solve global problems.
One such global goal is to make people aware of their
responsibility for the results of their activities.
Education for sustainable development is defined
as education that guarantees knowledge, skills, values
and views to ensure a more sustainable and fair soci-
ety. Education should train professionals to address
the growing and changing environmental challenges
facing the planet (Ashford, 2004). Accordingly, ed-
ucation must change to provide knowledge and atti-
tudes that will enable students to contribute to sus-
tainable development. At the same time, education
should be strengthened in all programs and activities
that promote sustainable development. Sustainable
development must be integrated into education, and
education must be integrated into sustainable devel-
The educational process organisation needs to be
changed because each individual’s development must
become “sustainable”. Student understanding of the
ecological consequences of people’s activities in ev-
ery day and productive spheres of their lives should
also become deep and internal. During the integra-
tion of appropriate approaches into training, the au-
thors tried to move in two directions. The first is to
improve or change the forms and methods of learning,
creating conditions for individuals’ sustainable devel-
opment. The second direction changes the content of
Derkach, T., Starova, T. and Krajnikov, A.
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines.
DOI: 10.5220/0010924600003364
In Proceedings of the 1st Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology (AET 2020) - Volume 1, pages 381-399
ISBN: 978-989-758-558-6
2022 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
academic disciplines by filling academic programmes
with factual data. Such data should reflect the actual
state of things in the real world. They should illustrate
the relationships in the chain of human activities – the
state of the environment (controlled or uncontrolled
changes) – result (risks and dangers for people).
Concerning the first approach, teachers should pay
more attention to students’ learning styles. Education
for sustainable development provides an exciting vi-
sion of an interdisciplinary and learner-centred way
to empower students to advance a pro-social and en-
vironmental agenda in their organisations, communi-
ties and personal lives. Introducing a student-centred
higher education model requires considering the sub-
ject’s preferences regarding study methods (Saarinen
et al., 2020; Damsa and de Lange, 2019; Gao, 2014).
Such an approach will allow students to use their
available cognitive functions and improve their gnos-
tic functions to develop rapidly.
Students differ significantly in the speed and man-
ner in which they master new information and the
confidence they process and use it (Lee et al., 2010;
Coffield et al., 2004). With the development of in-
formation and communication technologies (ICT),
the range of electronic resources (e-resources) and
tools that are used or can be used in the educa-
tional process significantly expands (Osadcha et al.,
2020; Kholoshyn et al., 2020). Such a statement is
especially true of teaching natural sciences (Nechy-
purenko et al., 2020b; Modlo et al., 2020). Accord-
ingly, the problem of individual perception of students
of different resources is becoming increasingly im-
The modern education paradigm also promotes in-
terest in learning preferences to develop the necessary
attitudes and skills of lifelong learning, especially in
the context of the need to “learning to learn. The
logic of lifelong learning assumes that students gain
more motivation to learn if they know their strengths
and weaknesses in the learning process. In turn, if
teachers can respond to people’s strengths and weak-
nesses, student achievements are likely to increase.
Learning to learn skills can be the basis for life-
long learning. Students become independent in their
learning if they know their strengths and weaknesses.
The adverse effects of reduced contact between lec-
turers and students with introducing new ICTs will
be balanced by a more effective learning strategy that
students can use outside the classroom.
Attempts have long been known to take the prob-
lem of academic achievement beyond simple solu-
tions, such as the connection with intelligence or
previous academic achievements (Childs-Kean et al.,
2020; Cassidy, 2004; Pashler et al., 2008). One such
concept used in determining the factors influencing
the effectiveness of learning is learning style. Since
learning styles were investigated in a massive amount
of research, there are many definitions, theoretical po-
sitions, models, interpretations, and construction di-
mensions. For example, the review (Coffield et al.,
2004) lists 71 models of learning styles with differ-
ent applications from pedagogy to commercial use
for testing propensity to professions, particularly on-
service training, the management or professional de-
velopment courses and more.
At the same time, there is criticism of the very
concept of learning styles (An and Carr, 2017; New-
ton, 2015; Wininger et al., 2019). The very idea of
a variety of approaches to learning among students
is usually not criticised. The concept of correlation
between learning styles, teaching methods and aca-
demic performance is more often criticised. A large
number of model ideas about learning styles is a natu-
ral consequence of extensive empirical research. This
situation can be expected for any continually evolv-
ing concept. However, the level of ambiguity and dis-
cussion is so high that even the task of choosing the
appropriate tool or model to use is burdensome.
Teachers in all fields are increasingly aware of
the critical importance of understanding how peo-
ple learn. It is equally important that any attempts
to integrate learning style into educational programs
are made from an informed position. According to
(Coffield et al., 2004), the vast majority of models
of learning styles can be divided into five groups.
This distribution covers more than 50 different mod-
els. Each group is characterised by the presence of
several well-developed and popular theories. Some
of them, which are decisive in the distribution of five
groups, are listed below.
1. Constitutionally-based learning styles and prefer-
ences including the four modalities: visual, audi-
tory, kinaesthetic, tactile (Dunn and Dunn, 1992;
Gregorc, 1984);
2. Cognitive structures which are reflected in learn-
ing styles (Riding, 2002);
3. Learning styles are one component of a relatively
stable personality type (Apter, 2001; Jackson and
Lawty-Jones, 1996; Myers and McCaulley, 1998);
4. Learning approaches, strategies, orientations and
conceptions are considered instead of learning
styles (Entwistle, 2018; Sternberg, 1999; Ver-
munt, 1996);
5. Flexibly stable learning preferences (Allinson and
Hayes, 1996; Mayer, 1993; Herrmann, 1996;
Honey and Mumford, 2000; Kolb, 2000).
AET 2020 - Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology
Each group is based on different assumptions.
Some theories are based on studies of brain func-
tion. Accordingly, specific nerve activity associated
with learning can be detected in different areas of the
brain. Other influential ideas come from established
psychological theories. Learning styles are believed
to be formed based on the fixed traits and intellec-
tual abilities of individuals. Therefore, styles can be
accurately identified and then reliably measured us-
ing psychological tests. Test results predict behaviour
and learning achievements.
In contrast to the above models, other theories
avoid all notions of individual features. Attention is
focused on the contextual and situational nature of
learning. Such models prefer to study the biography
of an individual rather than styles or approaches.
Very popular are models that present learning
styles as “flexibly stable”. Previous learning ex-
periences and other environmental factors may cre-
ate preferences, approaches, or strategies rather than
styles. Therefore, styles can vary from context to con-
text or even from task to task. Sufficiently reliable
tools for diagnosis and predictions can be created and
used to improve student’s learning level. In this ap-
proach, learning style is not a fixed feature but a di-
verse differential advantage in learning, which varies
slightly from situation to situation. At the same time,
there is some long-term stability in the learning style.
Models of learning styles as flexibly stable prefer-
ences, which are usually well adapted for teaching
natural and technical disciplines (Felder and Silver-
man, 1988; Felder and Spurlin, 2005), will be used
in this paper. According to this approach, one should
first understand the learning preferences of individual
students and the preferred learning style of a whole
student group (Alzain et al., 2018, 2016).
Previous research corroborated the existence of
correlations between student learning styles and their
preferences in choosing e-learning resources. The
use of e-resources, which can be called sensitive to
learning style, is widespread in natural sciences, such
as chemistry, biology, physics, ecology, engineering
(Derkach and Starova, 2017; Derkach, 2018, 2019;
Nechypurenko et al., 2018, 2020a). This fact must
be taken into account when organising training.
Regarding the course content changes, a clear and
essential from a practical viewpoint is the introduc-
tion into the curriculum of data on environmental pol-
lution of wild medicinal plants. In Ukraine, industrial
pollution of rivers, soils, and consequently plants is a
serious problem. By some estimates, about 25% of
the drugs used worldwide are directly obtained from
medicinal plants. In Ukraine, approximately 50% of
the bulk medicinal herb feedstock are cultivated un-
der controlled conditions. At the same time, the rest
belongs to wild plants.
However, the number of certain types of medicinal
plants is decreasing, and the natural reserves of some
wild species are entirely or partially depleted. About
200 species are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine,
and more than 70 are regionally rare (Minarchenko,
2014). Many wild medicinal plants have limited re-
sources. More than 50% of them are significantly
distributed but grow scattered or sporadically. Har-
vesting of such plants in natural places of growth is
unprofitable. The shortage of plant raw materials is
due to the ecological load, changing climatic condi-
tions, and anthropogenic factors. In addition to re-
ducing plants’ natural habitat, damaged ecology also
deteriorates their quality due to contamination with
various pollutants.
In summary, the optimal organisation of the ed-
ucational process ensures the acquisition by future
professionals of the competencies necessary for the
work and organisation of production and technology
in a sustainable society. Optimisation of the educa-
tional process concerns both the methods and educa-
tional resources and the studied disciplines’ content.
Considering the learning styles inherent in individual
students provides individualisation of education while
increasing the effectiveness of learning.
This work aims to identify ways to modernise
the educational environment of universities to imple-
ment the philosophy of sustainable development in
the competence of future graduates of the Faculty of
Natural Sciences. First, the prevailing learning styles
of student groups majoring in chemistry and informat-
ics will be determined. Then the acquired knowledge
will be used in optimising teaching methods in study-
ing ecological chemistry.
2.1 General Scheme of Experiment
The central part of the experiments was performed at
Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University (KSPU). To-
tally 61 persons, including ten male and 51 female,
participated in the experiment. They were virtually
all first- to fifth-year students of the Faculty of Natu-
ral Science of two admission years. They took un-
dergraduate or graduate courses majoring in chem-
istry and informatics. Senior students studied the
integrated course “Ecochemistry and Environmental
Monitoring” in the 4th year of study. Junior students
have not yet begun to study it.
The experiment consists of three stages. At first,
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines
the dominant learning styles were studied for all stu-
dents who participated in the experiment at the KSPU.
The variability of learning styles was studied depend-
ing on students’ gender, age and study year. Based on
the results of measuring the preferences of individu-
als, educational profiles were developed for student
The course “Ecochemistry and Environmental
Monitoring” consisted of 18 lecture hours and 72
hours of laboratory works. This course fruitfully links
theoretical knowledge of chemistry and its practical
application. It included three content modules de-
voted to various aspects of ecology. The second stage
of the experiment aims to correct teaching methods
for the module “Ecological chemistry of environmen-
tal objects”. For this purpose, didactic materials have
been developed that best meet the existing educational
preferences of student groups.
At the next stage of the experiment, correcting
the course content was proposed by including a new
topic, “Ecological pollution of plants”, in the mod-
ule “Ecological chemistry of environmental objects”.
The new topic’s content strengthens students’ envi-
ronmental competencies, expanding their knowledge
to the food and pharmaceutical industries.
Some aspects of the new content were improved
by one of the co-authors using the same experimen-
tal stages 1 and 2 at the Kyiv National University
of Technology and Design (KNUTD). A total of 178
students majoring in industrial pharmacy at the Fac-
ulty of Chemical and Biopharmaceutical Technolo-
gies participated in the experiment to determine ed-
ucational profiles.
Students from both universities specialised in re-
lated, albeit different areas of education. As is well
known, educational benefits strongly correlate with
the field of study. For this reason, the stylistic educa-
tional characteristics of students of both universities
were analysed separately. In both cases, the sample
size was limited by the available number of students
because almost all students participated in the experi-
Some environmentally-oriented educational ele-
ments were introduced in an analytical chemistry pro-
gram at the bachelor’s level and a pharmaceutical
quality system curricula within a master’s program
at KNUTD. Accordingly, 164 undergraduate students
and 14 masters took part in the testing of learning
preferences. Such a change in the curricula forms a
student understanding of the need to continuously ac-
quire new knowledge about plant raw materials and
continuously improve the production process.
The obtained results and research methods used at
KNUTD are described in this article. They comple-
ment the experiment results at KSPU and can be fur-
ther used to improve the course “Ecochemistry and
Environmental Monitoring”.
2.2 Index of Learning Style Instrument
The instrument, known as Index of Learning Style
and developed by R. Felder and B. Soloman (there-
inafter Felder-Soloman’s model), was used to study
students’ learning preferences (Felder and Brent,
2016; Felder and Soloman, 2020). All respondents
were interviewed to respond to 44 questions.
The instrument categorises individuals in line with
their preferences in four complementary dimensions.
These dimensions are as follows: perception sens-
ing (sns in a clipped form) or intuitive (int), informa-
tion input visual (vis) or verbal (vrb), data process-
ing – active (act) or reflective (ref) and understanding
of information – sequential (seq) or global (glo).
In other words, each of the four dimension con-
sists of two opposite styles or a pair of style and anti-
style. An 11-point scale scores them. The advantage
of one of two opposite styles is estimated based on
the distribution of 11 points between them. In this pa-
per, the results related to preferred learning styles will
be given percentages indicating the relative number of
students in the sample with a particular style. There-
fore, the number of students will always be 100% for
a given style and anti-style pair.
2.3 Style-induced Preferences in
Consider in detail aspects of the R. Felder and B.
Soloman model’s learning styles, namely the main
characteristics of cognitive functions, if one of the
styles prevails.
Sensing-type students prefer to learn the facts.
They should solve problems using known methods.
They do not like difficulties and surprises. So, they
will be upset if they receive a question on educational
material that has not been covered in detail in a lec-
ture room. Sensing students are also attentive to de-
tail, well-remembered, and do laboratory works, more
practical and careful.
Intuitive students prefer theories and hypotheses,
love innovation, and do not like repetition. They have
a better understanding of new concepts and tend to
feel more confident with abstractions and formulas.
They work faster and more inventive (Felder and Sil-
verman, 1988; Felder and Spurlin, 2005). Students
with a pronounced sensing learning style do not like
courses that are not relevant to reality. Intuitive stu-
dents do not like instructional courses that require a
AET 2020 - Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology
lot of memorisation and tedious calculations.
The benefits of one or the other way of learning
can be strong, medium or weak. Students should be
able to act in both ways to be effective in teaching and
solving problems. If they favour intuition too much,
they may lose important details and make mistakes
in calculations and lab work due to inattention. If
they rely solely on sensing learning, they will reduce
learning to cramming and repetition of known meth-
ods, refusing to live experiment and develop creative
thinking (Felder and Soloman, 2020).
Sensing-type students remember and understand
information better when they see how it relates to real
life. When they study a discipline that contains much
material in the form of theories and abstractions, dif-
ficulties may arise. The teacher should be given spe-
cific examples for each concept and methodology and
show how these concepts are practically used to pre-
vent obstacles in learning theoretical problems. Sup-
pose the teacher does not provide sufficient specific
data. In that case, sensing students should find it
on their own or in a textbook, or other texts, or us-
ing a joint brainstorming session with their learning
colleagues (Felder and Silverman, 1988; Felder and
Spurlin, 2005).
Usually, intuitive type students take most lectures
without problems. However, suppose such students
find themselves in classes where they are primarily
required to memorise and mechanically use formulas.
In that case, they may have problems and boredom.
Therefore, the teacher should be provided with inter-
pretations and theories related to the facts studied. If
this does not happen, students of intuitive type should
try to find regular connections independently (Felder
and Soloman, 2020).
Students who have a distinct visual learning style
better remember what they see pictures, diagrams,
flowcharts, graphs, movies and visual demonstra-
tions. Verbal students are more likely to receive in-
formation in the form of words – written and oral ex-
planations. Both types absorb more when the infor-
mation is presented both visually and verbally (Felder
and Soloman, 2020).
Most classes use very little visual information:
students mainly listen to lectures, read materials writ-
ten on blackboard and textbooks, and manipulate ma-
terials. The facts indicate that most students are peo-
ple with a visual type of perception. In other words,
they do not get as much as they could if the visual pre-
sentation of data were used more in the class (Felder
and Silverman, 1988; Felder and Spurlin, 2005).
Suppose the student has a visual type of percep-
tion. In that case, he/she must independently find
diagrams, sketches, diagrams, photographs, graphs,
or any other visual representation of course materi-
als, which is predominantly verbal. References to
videos, videos of the course will be helpful. Students
should use maps or flowcharts. Such materials de-
pict critical points of a theme in the middle of squares
or other figures, with demonstrations of connections
between concepts (in the form of a line with arrows
between blocks) (Felder and Silverman, 1988; Felder
and Spurlin, 2005). It is helpful for students of the
visual type to use colour markings of records. Each
colour has its meaning in such markings, highlighting
concepts related to the same topic, class, type, etc.
(Felder and Soloman, 2020).
Students of verbal type should write short sum-
maries or translations, of course, materials in their
own words. Group work can be beneficial to them.
They understand the material better by listening to
classmates’ explanations and learning even more
when explaining the content to others (Felder and Sil-
verman, 1988; Felder and Spurlin, 2005).
Students who have the advantage of an active
learning style can better understand and acquire new
knowledge by doing something with them. Reflective
students should first calmly reflect on the information
received and then begin working with it (Felder and
Silverman, 1988; Felder and Spurlin, 2005).
It is desired to have a balance of both styles. If the
student always does and then thinks, at first, he or she
may take up the case too hastily, which will create
problems. If he spends too much time thinking, he
can never do anything about it.
As a rule, active students are more comfortable
working in a group than reflective students who prefer
to study alone. Attending lectures without any move-
ment and physical activity, apart from giving notes, is
not easy for both types, but especially tricky for active
students (Felder and Soloman, 2020).
Suppose there is little classroom time when dis-
cussing discipline or discussing it together. In that
case, students with an active type of perception should
make up for that. To do this, they need to prepare for a
class together with a group of friends to take turns ex-
plaining topics to each other. It is helpful to imagine
that they can be asked the next presentation and rep-
resent how they will respond (Felder and Silverman,
1988; Felder and Spurlin, 2005).
When students have a little time in the lecture
room to reflect on new knowledge, persons with an
intuitive perception should try to make up for the lack
of that. To do this, they need to read and memorise
the educational material and stop from time to time to
repeat what they have read, think about possible ques-
tions and apply their knowledge. It is also helpful for
them to write small summaries based on what they
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines
have read or taken notes in the audience, presenting
the material in their own words. Such an approach
requires additional time but will allow better study of
information (Felder and Soloman, 2020).
Students with a predominant sequential learning
style gain understanding through successive steps,
each of which is a logical continuation of the pre-
vious one. Global-type students tend to learn giant
leaps, gathering information almost haphazardly and
then suddenly grasping the essence (Felder and Solo-
man, 2020).
Students with sequential perceptions tend to fol-
low a logical step-by-step search. Students with
global perceptions can solve problems quickly and
put the pieces together once they have understood the
big picture (Felder and Silverman, 1988; Felder and
Spurlin, 2005).
Many people may mistakenly qualify as “global”
because everyone felt astonished by the “illumina-
tion” (Felder and Soloman, 2020). However, what
makes the perception global or sequential happens
before the outbreak. Students with a very pro-
nounced global perception who cannot think sequen-
tially may experience severe difficulties until they un-
derstand the overall picture (Felder and Silverman,
1988; Felder and Spurlin, 2005). Even when received,
they may have a vague idea of the details of the sub-
ject. Simultaneously, sequential students may know
a great deal about specific aspects of the subject un-
der study but not understand how they relate to its
other components or other matters (Felder and Solo-
man, 2020).
Most courses in higher education are taught se-
quentially. Suppose a student has a sequential type of
perception. Suppose also a teacher moves from one
topic to another and misses the logical steps. In that
case, it may be difficult for the student to keep track of
his or her reflections and remember something. One
needs to complete the missing steps with the teacher’s
answers or yourself, referring to the directories. Stu-
dents should logically arrange the lecture material. To
develop global thinking, one must try to relate each
new topic to one studied before. The more a student
does this, the deeper the problem will be understand-
ing (Felder and Silverman, 1988; Felder and Spurlin,
Suppose students have a global type of learning
style. In that case, it will be useful for them to un-
derstand their need for a general picture of the subject
under study before mastering the details. If a teacher
starts a new topic without explaining how it relates to
what has been learned before, it can cause problems.
However, there are steps a student can take to get a
total picture faster (Felder and Soloman, 2020).
Before beginning the first paragraph of the next
section of the text, a student with a global learning
style needs to review the section completely to un-
derstand a general idea. Initially, this will take extra
time and subsequently avoid multiple revisions of in-
dividual parts (Felder and Soloman, 2020). Instead of
spending time reviewing each subject for a short time
each day, it may be more beneficial for such students
to study topics in large blocks (Felder and Silverman,
1988; Felder and Spurlin, 2005).
Students of this type should try to relate the sub-
ject under study to what they already know. For ex-
ample, they can ask a teacher to help them see the
links or find them in the additional literature indepen-
dently. At one time, a global student suddenly un-
derstands new material and understands its relation to
other topics or disciplines. Then, he/she will be able
to apply new knowledge very effectively. The student
can use acquired information in a particular way that
most sequential students do not dream of (Felder and
Soloman, 2020).
2.4 Structure of Ecological Chemistry
Ecology is a scientific matrix on which the sustainable
development of society is built. Sustainable devel-
opment, in essence, is the inclusion of environmental
knowledge in development activities in general. The
course of ecological chemistry continues the cycle
of chemical disciplines focusing on analysing chem-
ical processes and objects in nature. Mastering the
course will contribute to the formation of professional
competencies of the future chemist, teacher of chem-
istry and ecology, or laboratory assistant of chemical-
ecological laboratories.
The task of the course of ecological chemistry
is to provide students with knowledge about: a) the
chemical composition of natural objects; b) natural
processes that occur with the participation of natu-
ral compounds in the presence of pollutants; c) sys-
tems of monitoring control over the condition of nat-
ural objects; d) indicators that determine the qual-
ity of the environment; e) features of chemical con-
trol of natural objects. The structure of the disci-
pline “Ecochemistry and Environmental Monitoring”
is given in table 1. The content of the discipline con-
sists of three modules. One of the four topics of mod-
ule 2, namely the topic “Environmental chemistry of
the lithosphere”, was chosen for the study to optimise
teaching methods and tools following student groups’
educational preferences.
AET 2020 - Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology
Table 1: Structure of discipline “Ecochemistry and Environmental Monitoring” by topics and hours.
Name of topics Total Lectures Labs Independent
Module 1. Introduction to a special course
1.1 Monitoring & ecochemistry as environmental sciences 7 2 5
1.2 Human habitat 15 1 10 4
1.3 Chemical elements of the environment 8 1 4 3
Module 1 subtotal (hours) 30 4 14 12
Module 2. Ecological chemistry of natural objects
2.1 Scientific aspects of ecological chemistry 14 14
2.2 Ecology of the atmosphere 30 2 14 14
2.3 Ecological chemistry of the hydrosphere 22 2 6 14
2.4 Ecological chemistry of the lithosphere 24 4 6 14
Module 2 subtotal (hours) 90 8 26 56
Module 3. Monitoring of natural objects
3.1 Scientific bases of environmental monitoring 15 1 14
3.2 Atmospheric monitoring (air and gas mixtures) 24 2 8 14
3.3 Hydrosphere monitoring 24 2 12 10
3.4 Lithosphere monitoring 27 1 12 14
Module 3 subtotal (hours) 90 6 32 52
Total (hours/credits) 210/7 18 72 120
2.5 Algorithm of e-Resource Selection
To select educational resources according to students’
educational preferences, we used the approach firstly
described in (Baldiris et al., 2009). We determined
students’ preferences with different learning styles for
certain types of ICT and e-resources used in the train-
ing of students of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
Individual e-resources were evaluated by questioning
teachers and students. The assessment was made ac-
cording to the so-called advantage indicator, deter-
mined on a 3-point scale. Points mean:
0 – an indifferent attitude to a resource because the
respondent does not believe that this resource can
contribute to the learning process;
1 – good attitude, the student considers it appropriate
to work with this e-resource but does not give it
an advantage over others;
2 – very good attitude; the student likes to learn with
this type of resource and prefers it to other re-
sources. The respondent also considers it very
important for teaching that the teacher offers e-
resources of this type.
According to the student survey results, the aver-
age scores of resource assessment were determined
for students with different learning preferences. The
results show how the type of e-resource is consistent
with the type of student learning style. Such assess-
ments became the basis for optimising the choice of
teaching materials by the teacher. According to the
teacher survey results, tables of expert evaluation of
the feasibility of using e-resources in teaching specific
topics of various disciplines at the Faculty of Natural
Sciences were created.
In the presence of such evaluation data, the proce-
dure for optimising the choice of resources to work in
a particular student group can be reduced to the fol-
lowing steps:
1. Defining the types of student learning styles as a
combination of four aspects (act / ref, sen / int, vis
/ vrb, seq / glo). Analysis of the group’s composi-
tion, construction of its average profile or division
into subgroups of students with similar learning
2. Compilation of a list of e-resources required for
teaching a specific topic, based on a table of expert
evaluation of the module content.
3. Calculation of the specific indicator for each al-
located e-resource as a quantitative measure to
justify the feasibility of using the resource in the
classroom for groups with a particular combina-
tion of learning styles.
An example of the application of the described
technique is given in (Derkach, 2018). An approach
that implies using several types of e-resources for
main learning elements was applied for further work
in the group. It was considered that the style of teach-
ing and the use of e-resources might run counter to the
preferences of students, encouraging them to grow in
less developed areas. However, the level of discom-
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines
fort for students should not be too great. Therefore,
we used e-resources that had an average score of 1.
Duplication of information and inappropriate use of
class time was not allowed.
2.6 Methods of Plant Chemistry Study
As argued in previous sections, one of the priorities
among teaching methods is to teach sensitive stu-
dents. It is favourable for them to create an envi-
ronment where the material’s presentation is based on
real-life examples with specific information or indi-
cators and their comparison. This feature was one
of the arguments favouring the introduction of an in-
depth study of the influence of the environment on
plant chemistry in the course of ecological chemistry.
The content of metallic and non-metallic impuri-
ties in plants and the content of biologically active
substances, from a practical viewpoint, is most impor-
tant for medicinal plants. These plants are the raw ma-
terial base for the pharmaceutical industry. Besides,
they are widely used in the food industry, like spices
or dietary supplements.
Plants always contain elemental impurities. Some
chemical elements in plants, known as essential ones,
take part in biochemical processes. In contrast, oth-
ers do not contribute to plant development and are the
product of plants’ interaction with the environment
(Kabata-Pendias, 2011). The contents of elemen-
tal impurities and biologically active substances are
formed under the environment’s influence (Derkach
and Starikova, 2019). At optimal concentrations, the
essential elements are helpful while they can become
toxic in excess.
On the contrary, a plant poorly develops in defi-
ciency of essential elements. In the meanwhile, the
content of essential microelements is often not con-
trolled in herbal medicines. Both essential and non-
essential elements can be toxic to the consumers of
herbs. Some non-essential metals (As, Cd, Pb and
Hg) are very harmful (Chizzola, 2012; Locatelli et al.,
Accordingly, the potential presence of toxic met-
als and the variability of biologically active sub-
stances content largely determines the quality, effec-
tiveness and safety of medicinal plants and herbal
medicines (Derkach and Starikova, 2019; Derkach
and Khomenko, 2018a). Knowledge of the problems
of plants, in general, and medicinal plants, in partic-
ular, will significantly strengthen the environmental
competence of future chemists. Some of the results
obtained, which are essential for the formation of en-
vironmental competence, will be presented in the fol-
lowing sections.
The primary experimental method for studying the
elemental composition of plants was flame atomic ab-
sorption (FAAS). Biologically active substances were
investigated by high-performance liquid chromatog-
raphy (HPLC). The used sample preparation methods,
equipment and details of experiments are given else-
where (Derkach and Starikova, 2019; Derkach and
Khomenko, 2018b).
3.1 Preferences in Learning Styles
The results obtained in the study of learning prefer-
ences are shown in Fig. 1 as the average for all in-
terviewed students. A significant difference was ob-
served in three dimensions: sns (65.7%) / int (34.3%);
vis (64.2%) / vrb (33.2%) and act (59.5%) / ref
(40.5%). No essential difference was found in the
fourth dimension of seq (50.1%) / glo (49.9%). In
other words, a style prevails over its anti-style in three
dimensions. In the fourth dimension, a balance is ob-
served between style and anti-style.
Figure 1: Preferences in learning styles for students of the
Faculty of Natural Sciences of KSPU, the speciality 014
Secondary education (chemistry & informatics).
Typically, learning style is a relatively stable and
weakly variable characteristic of a person formed un-
der the influence of its psychological and physiolog-
ical characteristics. For example, it was shown in
(Derkach and Starova, 2017) that it is weakly depen-
dent on the year of study for first- to fourth-year un-
dergraduate students.
The opposite view is that dominant learning styles
can change under the influence of external circum-
stances. Such influencing factors may include the
field of study and type of material being studied, de-
livery mode, the age of an individual, motivation and
AET 2020 - Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology
educational level, etc.
It is also commonly believed that learning styles
are not sensitive to the student’s gender but may vary
significantly between students in different fields of
study. However, the question of the stability of learn-
ing styles and their dependence on students’ gender
and age can still be considered debatable. The results
obtained in the paper allow us to evaluate the influ-
ence of the above factors. For this reason, the results
of testing the learning styles were divided into groups
by gender (figure 2).
Comparing the results of the two studied groups
“boys” and “girls”, we can see that respondents-boys
and respondents-girls have a difference between the
two dimensions: “boys” – vis (75.8%) / vrb (24.2%),
seq (59.1%) / glo (40.9%); “girls” – vis (62.6%) / vrb
(34.0%); seq (46.9%) / glo (53.1%).
In two other characteristics, the difference is al-
most imperceptible: “boys” sns (68.2%) / int
(31.8%), act (60.6%) / ref (39.4%); “girls” sns
(65.4%) / int (34.6%) and act (59.8%) / ref (40.2%).
Also, testing all students’ learning styles was di-
vided into groups by age (figure 3). Comparing the
results for ages of 17–20 and 20+ years, we concluded
that these groups’ respondents had only minor differ-
ences. For 17–20 years, the preferred styles are as
follows: sns (64.1%) / int (35.9%), vis (66.2%) / vrb
(33.8%), act (59.3%) / ref (40.7%), seq (51.1%) / glo
(48.9%). For 21+ years, sns (68.2%) / int (31.8%), vis
(61.0%) / vrb (39.0%), act (59.7%) / ref (40.3%), seq
(48.7%) / glo (51.3%).
In our opinion, there is a slight difference in the re-
spondents’ learning styles because all the respondents
study in the same speciality. The existing prefer-
ences among students-pharmacists of KNUTD com-
pared with the average indicators of students-chemists
of KSPU are given in figure 4. Learning preferences
are shown for undergraduate and separately for grad-
uate students of KNUTD.
The predominance of the act, vis and sns styles is
maintained for all groups of students. KSPU students
are balanced in measuring seq-glo. At the same time,
pharmacists show a pronounced advantage in favour
of a sequential style. The most significant difference
is between undergraduate students of KNUTD and all
other groups. That is, the difference between students
of KSPU and masters of KNUTD is significantly re-
duced. The measurement of seq-glo is an exception
because the existing advantage of a sequential style
among pharmacists does not change over years of
3.2 Teaching Ecological Chemistry of
the Lithosphere
Considering the obtained profiles of educational ad-
vantages in groups, we have prepared a didactic ma-
terial on the topic “Ecological chemistry of the litho-
sphere” of the content module “Ecological chemistry
of environmental objects”. Most students in the group
are those who study visually, sensitively, actively, and
sequentially. That is why we used the methods, forms,
and e-resources that are well percept by them in the
lecture. Example:
a large amount of multimedia presentation data
was used for visual perception of information dur-
ing the lecture;
for sensing data processing, lecture information
was provided based on life stories and situations;
to attract an active component of the training
types, several problematic situations on this topic
were created. Students worked in small groups for
several minutes over their decision;
a link between current material and everyday life
was demonstrated for the sequential component.
For the lecture, information on the following pro-
cesses was elaborated: soil formation, weathering and
its varieties, leaching, gouging, salting and others,
and learning about the participation of living organ-
isms in soil formation.
Submission of material on the lithosphere’s fun-
damental processes was also adapted to students’ pre-
vailing stylistic characteristics: visual, sensing, ac-
tive and sequential, but other techniques have already
been used. Example:
a multimedia presentation with various diagrams
and photographs illustrating the content of the
theme was used for visual stylistic characteristics
during the class;
for the sensing style, the information of the lecture
was related to the environment, which is directly
an integral part of human life;
for the active component, lectures specifically
made mistakes in the content and provided an op-
portunity for students in small groups (2–3 peo-
ple) to consider where the inaccuracy was made;
for a sequential component, the connection be-
tween current material and everyday life was
During the laboratory session, we formed practi-
cal knowledge about the soil composition and some of
its indicators. For this purpose, the following methods
were applied:
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines
Figure 2: Preferences in learning styles for male (a) and female (b) students.
Figure 3: Preferences in learning styles for students of 17–20 (a) and 21+ (b) years old.
illustrations of the mechanical composition of the
soil, video of bean growth, and instructions for
planting it in the soil were used simultaneously
with the parallel text that described these pro-
cesses to learn by visual style during the labora-
tory work;
for the sensing style, the information related to the
fertile surface layer of the lithosphere, which is di-
rectly connected with human life, was provided.
Students were asked to find signs that determine
the quality of the soil and its use in human activ-
an analysis of soils in which beans grew was used
for the students with active style in the laboratory.
Students worked in small groups analysing soils.
The content of students’ independent work in-
cluded tasks that, in our opinion, are intended to
help develop a global, reflective, verbal, and intuitive
styles of learning activity.
Here are examples of the tasks of students’ in-
dependent work. Students were invited to do the
following task to develop a global characteristic of
the seq/glo pair of learning styles. “Use the guides,
the Internet, and other recommended sources to learn
about the content of the ecological chemistry of the
lithosphere. Determine the importance of chemical
processes in soils for the formation of biogeochemi-
cal cycles of chemical elements and their substances
in the nature of our planet”.
To satisfy the reflective learning style in the act/ref
dimension, we asked students to do the following.
“Using lecture notes, read the study material, occa-
sionally pausing to repeat what you have read. Write
small abstracts based on what you have read. What is
the main source of pollution of the lithosphere? De-
scribe the main components of the emissions from
such a source and their influence on the fertile soil
layer’s chemical composition. What are some ways
we can deal with the primary and re-contamination of
key areas?”
To satisfy the requirements of a verbal style in the
vis/vrb pair, we asked students to do the following
task: “Using the above text, make a diagram of the
AET 2020 - Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology
Figure 4: Learning styles of 1-5 years students majoring in chemistry & informatics at KSPU compared to styles of 1–4 years
undergraduate and 5-year master students of industrial pharmacy at KNUTD.
biogeochemical cycle of carbon.
Carbon in nature:
The chain of carbon atoms is the basis of all or-
ganic matter: proteins, fats, carbohydrates and other
compounds that are necessary for the life of all liv-
ing organisms. The carboniferous circulation between
wild and inanimate nature occurs at high speed. The
main inorganic compounds of carbon are its oxides
and CO) and carbonate, making up carbonate
rocks. The most mobile carbon compound in the at-
mosphere, which plays a significant role in the cycle,
is carbon dioxide (CO
Carbon’s central reserve is concentrated in car-
boniferous rocks (carbonates, dolomite, etc.) at the
bottom of the ocean and in the Earth’s crust, as well
as fossil fuels. The carbon reserve in the atmosphere
is much smaller. However, it plays a significant role
in the cycle due to its mobility. As a result of the rel-
atively small reserves in the atmosphere, the carbon
cycle is more vulnerable than the nitrogen cycle.
Recently, the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide content
has been steadily increasing, indicating that the equi-
librium processes in the biosphere are disturbed. The
reason is human economic activity: high carbon diox-
ide emissions from burning fossil fuels, reducing for-
est area, pollution of the oceans. As a result, pho-
tosynthesis intensity and carbon dioxide binding de-
crease. Increasing carbon dioxide content is the lead-
ing cause of the greenhouse effect and an increase in
the average temperature on the planet.
We proposed that students do the following task
to develop an intuitive style in the subsystem sen/int.
“Tailings cause a large amount of dust under the in-
fluence of wind flows, which leads to the pollution
of atmospheric air and its deposition in large areas of
land. Suggest a plan for minimising dust generation”.
Thereby in the course of the study, we started to
introduce students to different forms of work. These
forms involve using the different cognitive functions
and therefore contribute to the development of their
balance. In turn, the latter allows a person to be flex-
ible in the unrestrained development of technological
progress, be open to different ways of receiving infor-
mation and perceiving it without resistance and ten-
sion. As a whole, students evaluated the completed
tasks at a high level, which indicates that the student’s
perception of new tasks is positively fulfilled, without
3.3 Teaching Plant Pollution
As shown in the previous section, the sensitive per-
ception of information is characteristic of most KSPU
and KNUTD students. Such students perceive the
theoretical part more effectively if they can establish
a connection between theory and real-life facts. It
seems appropriate to strengthen the course of ecolog-
ical chemistry with new topics, which are essentially
based on the consideration of numerous real-life ex-
amples. The environmental pollution of plants by hu-
man economic activity products looks promising be-
cause its teaching can include many real examples.
On the one hand, such topics will be well perceived
by students with the revealed educational preferences.
On the other hand, they will strengthen the environ-
mental component in the education of future profes-
sionals. Accordingly, if the previous section considers
procedures, methods and approaches to learning eco-
logical chemistry, this section considers the proposed
changes in the discipline content.
Previously measured elemental and chemical
composition of several widespread medicinal plants
growing in different regions of Ukraine (Derkach and
Starikova, 2019; Derkach and Khomenko, 2018a,b)
were used as environmental education elements in the
teaching of analytical chemistry and pharmaceutical
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines
quality system. Elemental composition compared to
the available recommendations for the content of met-
als and metalloids in plant foods, medicines, dietary
supplements, spices, etc. Authorised organisations
use different characteristics to determine the limits of
element intake in the human body. Virtually all ele-
ments, except for particularly toxic ones (As, Cd, Pb,
Hg), can play a dual role and become toxic in a par-
ticular concentration. As a rule, there is a concentra-
tion interval of optimal daily human consumption of a
particular element. Various norms regulate either the
recommended dose of the element (often per 1 kg of
human weight) or the maximum allowable intake.
Two aggregated characteristic exposures, enti-
tled Level of Optimal Consumption (LOC) and Up-
per Limit of Safe Consumption (ULSC), are con-
structed based on the universally recognised norms
(Derkach and Khomenko, 2018a; WHO, 2007; EC,
2006;, 2016; Rubio et al., 2018).
Ranges of some element concentrations were mea-
sured in a few popular medicinal plans (St Jon’s wort,
chamomile, nettle and sage). The measured concen-
trations were compared with the LOC and ULSC val-
ues, as shown in table 2. The ULSC and LOC ratios
to the maximal measured concentrations respectively
estimate maximum allowable and safe limits of daily
intakes of the most contaminated studied herbs from
the viewpoint of possible side effect of the microele-
ments (table 2).
Figure 5 illustrates the variability of biologically
active substances in medicinal plants.
As an example, the HPLC were shown for herbal
preparations “St. John’s wort herb”, prepared by four
different suppliers and purchased in Kyiv pharmacies.
As an example, the HPLC were shown for herbal
preparations “St. John’s wort herb”, prepared by four
different suppliers and purchased in Kyiv pharmacies.
As is seen, the concentrations of flavonoid rutin and
hypericin are the highest in samples of supplier 4. In
contrast, the herbs of supplier 3 are most enriched in
hyperforin. Herbs of suppliers 1 and 2 are charac-
terised by the highest concentrations of quercetin and
hyperoside, respectively. Among flavonoids, the ob-
served concentration fluctuations are relatively mod-
erate for quercetin and hyperoside. For these com-
pounds, the maximum-to-minimum concentration ra-
tios are 1.45 and 1.87, respectively. The variation
of rutin concentration is the highest, 13.8 for the
maximum-to-minimum ratio. Amid flavonoid fluctu-
ations, the instability of antidepressants (hyperforin
and hypericin) appears to be moderate 3.11 and 4.7
for these compounds, respectively.
4.1 Learning Preferences in Different
Fields of Studies
The study results have shown that the existing prefer-
ences in learning styles among students majoring in
chemistry and informatics generally persist through-
out their studies. They are relatively weakly depen-
dent on gender and age. The students demonstrate
solid preferences for sensing, visual and active learn-
ing style. In the dimension of seq-glo styles, an ap-
proximate balance is observed.
The question arises as to whether the invented be-
haviour patterns are universal or inherent only to a
particular speciality. Learning styles were determined
for students of different specialities at the Faculty of
Natural Sciences (figure 6) to compare with students
majoring in chemistry and informatics (figure 1).
A difference in almost all style dimensions is ob-
served between specialities. For example, most ecol-
ogy students prefer reflective style (52.7% ref vs 4.3%
act). In contrast, all other specialities prefer ac-
tive learning (51.5–61.6% of active students vs 38.4–
40.5% reflective). A discrepancy in the sen-int di-
mension almost reaches 11% – from 61.1% for phys-
iologists to 71% for chemists. In the vis-vrb dimen-
sion, it exceeds 16%. Students majoring in biology
and physiology are the most balanced, while visual
learning dominates in all other specialities. The spe-
ciality “ecology” and “biology + physiology” demon-
strate a clear preference for sequential style. In con-
trast, students of biology + chemistry and chemistry
+ informatics specialities are well-balanced in this di-
Similar to the results obtained, there is much evi-
dence in the scientific literature that students in differ-
ent study fields often demonstrate different learning
styles (Derkach and Starova, 2017; Derkach, 2018;
Sahragard et al., 2016). The origin of different
learning styles in different environments is not fi-
nally evident yet. Instead, one may suppose that
learning styles are educational strategies that charac-
terise the individual’s actions in response to a partic-
ular learning situation. Thus, the learning styles or
individually-unique ways of educational activity by
their very nature may depend directly on the educa-
tional technology used, including the teaching meth-
ods, types of educational resources, teacher position,
status educational institution, etc.
So, the definition of learning styles as flexibly
stable preferences in information processing, instruc-
tional technologies, and learning strategies fits the ob-
tained results well. Accordingly, the development
AET 2020 - Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology
Table 2: LOC and ULSC ranges in comparison with the measured concentration range and safe daily intakes.
Element Measured con-
ULSC, mg LOC, mg Maximum
intake, g/day
Al No data 0.5-10 10
As (in in-
No data 0.021-0.3 0.02
B No data 6.2-20 14
Ba No data 4.0-14 14
Be No data 0.14 0.14
Ca No data 2500 1000
Cd 0.2-0.9 0.02-0.07 0.007 22 8
Co 0.08-0.4 0.02-0.04 1500 50
Cr 0.2-2.0 0.25-21 (CrIII) 0.002-0.003 (CrVI) 125 1
Cu 5.0-12 10.0-12 0.7-0.9 833 58
Fe 25-120 9.7-58.8 8.0-18 81 67
Hg No data 0.35 0.014
K 7500-9900 4700 475
Mg 1000-1600 350-2500 310-420 219 194
Mn 40-150 2.0-11 0.35-2.3 13 2
Mo No data 0.03-2 0.045
Na 110-160 1500 0 9375
Ni 0.8-2.8 0.2-1 71 0
Pb 0.1-6.2 0.1-0.25 0.14 16 23
Sb No data 30
Se No data 0.3-0.4 0.055-0.35
Sr No data 42
V No data 0.7
Zn 19-34 21-50 8.0-21 1 235
of didactic materials based on the identified learn-
ing profiles seems appropriate for teaching ecological
4.2 Conflict of Styles
Lecturers have their advantages of learning styles
(Rahimi et al., 2017). Most lecture courses are aimed
at a small number of people who can perceive and
process information intuitively, verbally, reflectively
and sequentially. Such a situation creates a disadvan-
tage for many students.
Lab work, being inherently sensing, visual, and
active, could offset some of the imbalance. How-
ever, most laboratory work involves, first and fore-
most, mechanical exercises. They illustrate only a
small part of the concepts discussed at the lectures and
rarely provide a robust understanding or development
of skills. Thus, sensing, visual, active and global stu-
dents rarely meet their educational needs when study-
ing at higher education institutions.
The discrepancy between teaching and learning
styles has several serious implications. In this case,
the students feel that communication is taking place
in an unknown foreign language.
These problems can be minimised, and educa-
tion quality can be significantly improved if teachers
consider the particularities of student preferences in
teaching styles (Richardson, 2011; Franzoni and As-
sar, 2009).
It is challenging to create the conditions for the
presentation of information that satisfies all possible
student learning styles in one audience. There are dif-
ferent approaches to solving this problem.
The works we have done earlier describe the
methodology of choosing methods, forms, and teach-
ing aids, taking into account students’ peculiarities
of learning styles of different specialities (Derkach,
2019; Derkach and Starova, 2017; Derkach, 2018).
He has a right to life and another approach that in-
volves applying the techniques of presenting informa-
tion conveniently to each style for a while.
The development of all cognitive styles is benefi-
cial for students. Therefore, seeking to strike a bal-
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines
Figure 5: Concentrations of biologically active compounds (hypericin, hyperforin and flavonoids) in herbal medicines St
John’s wort of different suppliers.
ance for everyone in the learning process can be help-
ful. Then students will have natural learning activ-
ities available to them and create conditions for the
development of other learning styles. Such a situa-
tion can promote active learning and a positive atti-
tude towards it and lead to the strengthening of less
developed abilities (Mayer, 1993).
When developing a global teaching style, it is
better to study the material using visual techniques.
These techniques should allow students to offer a gen-
eralised conclusion from their analysis. To do this,
you should first show the schematics of the links of
the elements for study, experiments, results, and then
allow students to reach the provisions of specific the-
ories independently.
When developing a reflective teaching style,
teachers sometimes need to stop during the lecture
to allow the audience to think and formulate ques-
tions. You should also schedule small group problem-
solving sessions. Then group students will have a
chance to spend one or several minutes solving any
of the many different issues and problems. Some ex-
amples of such problems are as follows. “Start solv-
ing this problem”, “What is wrong with what I wrote
on the board?”, “Suppose you enter a lab, check the
measurement results, and find that the formula we just
derived gives incorrect results. How many possible
explanations can you come up with?”
Also, to develop a global teaching style, it is nec-
essary to demonstrate the logical connection of par-
ticular topics. It is also essential to show the interac-
tion between current material and other topics of the
same discipline, other courses and daily life. Encour-
aging or engaging in self-help in homework is essen-
tial. Students who participate in collective learning,
both in and out of the classroom, receive better grades
and show tremendous enthusiasm (Mayer, 1993).
4.3 Environmentally-induced Variation
of the Chemical Composition of
Medicinal Plants
The data in the previous section provide several exam-
ples of the impact of the environment on the elemental
and chemical composition of a number of medicinal
plants. The introduction of this type of material in the
curriculum creates a favourable environment for sen-
sitive students. Among undergraduate pharmacy stu-
dents, up to 88% of students have a sensitive learning
These examples clearly illustrate the fact of varia-
tion in plant composition depending on growing con-
ditions. For example, the content of some biologically
active substances, which determine the effectiveness
of herbal medicines, varies by 1.5–14 times. Accord-
ingly, the quality of herbal medicines of various ori-
gins varies within these broad limits. It should be
emphasised that these examples are herbal medicines
that are purchased legally in pharmacies. The obvious
conclusion is that the existing quality control system
does not fully ensure consistent and uniform herbal
medicine quality.
The analysis of the given data on the elemen-
tal composition also shows high variability in plants’
composition in different areas. The content of toxic
impurities and excessive contamination with essential
elements that are not toxic in moderation directly af-
fects herbal medicines’ safety. Besides, the presence
of ions of some metals in plants can affect their ef-
AET 2020 - Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology
Figure 6: Learning styles of 1–4 years KSPU students majoring in biology & chemistry, biology & physiology, ecology and
physical education.
fectiveness. Many free ions can form metal-organic
complexes, bind biologically active substances into
complexes and reduce their activity.
Draws attention to the fact that the plants available
in pharmacies in terms of the content of the most toxic
metals generally meet the standards (table 2). The
most unfavourable situation is concerning cadmium.
Daily safe internal consumption of the most contami-
nated grass should not exceed 8 g. Even worse is the
consumption of plants with high Cr and Mn contents;
no more than 1 and 2 g, respectively, are safe for daily
As is known, Ukraine has rich deposits of man-
ganese (about 10% of world resources). The explored
reserves of mining companies are 140 million tons
or about 21% of world reserves (Sun et al., 2020).
The country is a prominent producer of manganese
ore. The primary deposits are concentrated in the
Dnipropetrovsk region. The chain of manganese cir-
culation, from its extraction, further processing and
end-use in various industries, is illustrated in figure 7.
The initial data for illustration are taken from (Sun
et al., 2020). According to the results of 2017, the
total manganese in the world is 23.9 million tons.
The source of manganese supply is manganese
and iron ores, as well as manganese-containing scrap.
When processing ore and scrap, they are converted
into various intermediate products by smelting, elec-
trolysis or other technological processes. They are
various ferroalloys and other manganese compounds.
As a final consumption, manganese is used to produce
steel and aluminium alloys, various galvanic cells,
fertilisers, animal feed components, and other prod-
Sooner or later, the lifespan of manganese prod-
ucts expires and such products are discarded. If the
spent elements are collected, their secondary use be-
gins in the form of scrap. Unfortunately, most of the
discarded products are not efficiently collected and
processed. They are classified as waste. Currently,
there are almost no well-established systems (except
for steel metallurgy) of manganese regeneration.
Accordingly, waste manganese products and
emissions from the metallurgical and mining indus-
tries are environmental pollution sources. The scale
of pollution from human activities is huge. As al-
ready mentioned, the primary manganese deposits,
ferroalloy and metallurgical plants are concentrated
in the Dnipropetrovsk region. Accordingly, the im-
pact of these enterprises on the environment focuses
on this region. Simultaneously, heavy manganese pol-
lution of small rivers is registered even in the Ternopil
region (Prokopchuk and Hrubinko, 2016). This pa-
per presents data on manganese contamination of
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines
Figure 7: Supply and intermediate products and end-use of Mn in the world (million ton and %).
medicinal plants collected in four different regions of
Ukraine. For example, manganese and iron are known
to be antagonists in plants (Alejandro et al., 2020; Za-
itsev et al., 2020). In many countries, iron concen-
tration in tissues of most plants is usually higher than
Mn content. Ukraine is an exception in this sense,
as the concentration of manganese has been shown
to exceed typically iron concentration (Derkach and
Khomenko, 2018a,b). Obviously, the source of such
pollution is the spread of manganese waste.
Mn is the fifth most abundant metal on the Earth.
Mn does not occur naturally in a pure state (Schmidt
and Husted, 2019; Huang and Zhang, 2020). It exists
in both inorganic and organic compounds the in-
organic form being the most common. However, Mn
also exists in organic forms, particularly as an addi-
tive to fertilisers and fuels. In principle, Mn can oc-
cur in 11 different oxidation states, varying from -3 to
+7 because of 7 electrons in the outer electron shell.
In living tissue, Mn has been found as Mn
, Mn
and possibly as Mn
. Higher oxides and other com-
plexes of Mn at lower oxidation states are not ob-
served in biological materials. This element is essen-
tial for normal biochemical and physiological func-
tions in plants and serves as a co-factor for some en-
The most common toxicity is manganese in a pro-
fessional environment. However, there are known
cases of adverse health effects of this element due
to environmental impact. Poisoning by this element
is referred to as manganism (Lange and Condelo III,
2016). The suggested dietary intake of Mn is about
2 mg/day (table 2). Organ systems most affected are
the liver, heart and nervous system.
4.4 Optimisation of Teaching Methods
and Forms to Study Ecological
The article attempts to modify future specialists’ eco-
logical training in chemical specialities, integrating
sustainable development ideas. Teaching technolo-
gies have been improved in several areas to prepare
future professionals to work in a sustainable produc-
tion environment.
To ensure the sustainable development of the stu-
dent’s personality, they tried to promote a conscious
attitude to their cognitive activity and create condi-
tions for the most practical knowledge acquisition.
Determining the profiles of groups allowed the au-
thors to use the technology of integration of meth-
ods, forms and means of teaching, including ICTs,
taking into account the peculiarities of the formed ed-
ucational preferences of students. The use of quan-
titative criteria for assessing the feasibility of using
e-resources on this technology can prevent the emer-
gence of “conflict of styles” of teaching and learning.
The content of educational components was filled
with factual material that reflects the current state of
environmental ecology. The primary purpose of this
was to form students’ understanding of the connection
between changes occurring in nature due to human-
made impact and elements of their future professional
activity. It was also important to better align the
developed teaching material with the requirements,
which dictate the presence in groups of the vast ma-
jority of active and sensitive students.
To ensure the organisation of training using ICT,
dedicated educational and methodological support
was developed. It includes instructions for the self-
facilitated execution of computer simulations and sets
of multimedia presentations. The developed method-
ical recommendations for teachers reveal a technique
of using the described e-resources in the real educa-
tional process.
Preliminary diagnosis of students styles in the group
allows the teacher to create conditions for enriching
AET 2020 - Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology
students’ stylistic behaviour, which will increase the
productivity of their intellectual actions.
The use of the educational resources created in
this work will help prevent the “conflict of learning
styles” of teachers and students.
The paper’s findings can be used in higher educa-
tion institutions’ educational process to teach the ped-
agogical cycle disciplines. For example, “Methods of
teaching chemistry in a specialised school and voca-
tional education institutions”, as well as professional
disciplines “Organic chemistry”, “Computer statisti-
cal processing results” and others.
Continuing experiments to establish links between
students’ academic performance and the development
of their cognitive styles is a promising area of re-
search. Summarising their results will help to formu-
late principles for the organisation of efficient training
of future chemical specialists.
1. The paper proposes changes in teaching methods
and the discipline’s content in ecological chem-
istry teaching. The change in teaching methods
and content is focused on optimising e-resources
according to students’ educational preferences.
Individuals’ educational preferences were studied
for 1-5 year students majoring in chemistry and
informatics at KSPU and 1-5 year students major-
ing in industrial pharmacy at KNUTD.
2. The Index of Learning Style instrument by R.
Felder B. Soloman was used. Most future
chemists learn visually, sensitively, actively and
sequentially. The styles of undergraduate students
majoring in industrial pharmacy are qualitatively
similar and show even more pronounced prefer-
ences in 3 dimensions. In the glo-seq dimension,
pharmacists have a clear advantage in the sequen-
tial style, while chemists’ styles are relatively bal-
3. Learning preferences are relatively stable during
undergraduate study and vary very little depend-
ing on gender or age. Detailed comparisons of
undergraduate and graduate students among the
future pharmacists show an increase in the num-
ber of masters with ref and vrb preferences. So,
student profiles in these dimensions become more
balanced in passing from undergraduate to gradu-
ate studies.
4. Based on individual students’ learning prefer-
ences, the group profiles are calculated using the
previously developed methodology. It considers
the rating of e-resources by the average score of
student preferences and the difference between
the ratings of experts and scores of students with
different learning styles.
5. Developed didactic materials, which correspond
to the group’s educational preferences, were used
to teach the topic “Ecological chemistry of the
6. The topic “environmental pollution of plants”
contains a large number of concrete examples.
The possible introduction of this topic into the syl-
labus of ecological chemistry aims to improve the
correspondence between the content of the disci-
pline and students’ educational preferences with a
sensitive learning style.
7. In the study, we started introducing students to
different work forms that involve different cog-
nitive functions and contribute to their balance.
In turn, the latter allows a person to be flexible
in the unrestrained development of technological
progress, be open to different ways of receiving
information and perceiving it without resistance
and tension.
Alejandro, S., Holler, S., Meier, B., and Peiter, E. (2020).
Manganese in plants: From acquisition to subcellular
allocation. Frontiers in Plant Science, 11:300.
Allinson, C. W. and Hayes, J. (1996). The cognitive
style index: A measure of intuition-analysis for or-
ganizational research. Journal of Management Stud-
ies, 33(1):119–135.
Alzain, A., Clark, S., Ireson, G., and Jwaid, A. (2018).
Adaptive education based on learning styles: Are
learning style instruments precise enough? Interna-
tional Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning,
Alzain, A. M., Ireson, G., Clark, S., and Jwaid, A. (2016).
Learning style instruments and impact of content: A
qualitative study. In 2016 World Congress on Sus-
tainable Technologies (WCST), pages 109–114, Pis-
cataway, NJ. IEEE.
An, D. and Carr, M. (2017). Learning styles theory fails to
explain learning and achievement: Recommendations
for alternative approaches. Personality and Individual
Differences, 116:410–416.
Apter, M. J. (2001). Motivational Styles in Everyday Life:
a Guide to Reversal Theory. American Psychological
Association, Washington, DC.
Ashford, N. A. (2004). Major challenges to engineer-
ing education for sustainable development. Interna-
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines
tional Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education,
Baldiris, S., Fabregat, R., Mej
ıa, C., and G
omez, S. (2009).
Adaptation decisions and profiles exchange among
open learning management systems based on agent
negotiations and machine learning techniques. In
Jacko, J. A., editor, Human-Computer Interaction.
Interacting in Various Application Domains, volume
5613 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages
12–20. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Cassidy, S. (2004). Learning styles: An overview of theo-
ries, models, and measures. Educational Psychology,
Childs-Kean, L., Edwards, M., and Smith, M. D. (2020). A
systematic review of learning style framework use in
health sciences education. American Journal of Phar-
maceutical Education, 84(7):919–927. https://www.
Chizzola, R. (2012). Metallic mineral elements and heavy
metals in medical plants. Medicinal and Aromatic
Plant Science and Biotechnology, 6:39–53.
Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., and Ecclestone, K.
(2004). Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16
Learning. A Systematic and Critical Review. Learn-
ing and Skills Research Centre, London, UK.
Damsa, C. and de Lange, T. (2019).
Student-centred learning environments in
higher education. Uniped, 42(1):9–26.
Derkach, T. and Khomenko, V. (2018a). Elemental com-
position of the medicinal plants Hypericum perfora-
tum, Urtica dioica and Matricaria chamomilla grown
in Ukraine: A comparative study. Pharmacognosy
Journal, 10(3):486–491.
Derkach, T. and Khomenko, V. (2018b). Essential and
toxic microelements in the medicinal remedy Hyper-
ichi herba by different producers. Research Journal of
Pharmacy and Technology, 11(2):466–474.
Derkach, T. M. (2018). Preferred learning styles of students
majoring in chemistry, pharmacy, technology and de-
sign. Advanced Education, No9(9):55–61.
Derkach, T. M. (2019). Progress in chemistry studies for
students of industrial pharmacy speciality with differ-
ent learning styles. Orbital: The Electronic Journal of
Chemistry, 11(3):219–227.
Derkach, T. M. and Starikova, O. O. (2019). Variation of
chemical composition of medicinal herbs of different
producers. Journal of Chemistry and Technologies,
Derkach, T. M. and Starova, T. V. (2017). Preferred learning
styles of students of natural field of study. Science and
Education, (6):51–56. https://scienceandeducation.
Dunn, R. and Dunn, K. (1992). Teaching Secondary Stu-
dents Through Their Individual Learning Styles. Pear-
son, 1st edition.
EC (2006). Commission regulation (EC) No
1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting max-
imum levels for specific contaminants in food-
stuffs. Official Journal of the European Union,
49(20.12.2006):L364/5–L364/24. https://eur-
Entwistle, N. J. (2018). Student Learning and Academic
Understanding. A Research Perspective with Implica-
tions for Teaching. Academic Press/Elsevier, 1st edi-
Felder, R. and Soloman, B. (2020).
An Index of Learning Styles.
Felder, R. M. and Brent, R. (2016). Teaching and Learn-
ing STEM: A Practical Guide. Jossey-Bass - A Wiley
Brand, San Francisco, CA.
Felder, R. M. and Silverman, L. K. (1988). Learning and
teaching styles in engineering education. Engineering
Education, 78(7):674–681.
Felder, R. M. and Spurlin, J. (2005). Applications,
reliability and validity of the Index of Learning
Styles. International Journal of Engineering Educa-
tion, 21(1):103–112.
Franzoni, A. L. and Assar, S. (2009). Student learning styles
adaptation method based on teaching strategies and
electronic media. Educational Technology & Society,
Gao, S. (2014). Relationship between science teach-
ing practices and students’ achievement in Singa-
pore, Chinese Taipei, and the US: An analysis us-
ing TIMSS 2011 data. Frontiers of Education in
China, 9(4):519–551.
EN/abstract/article 11745.shtml.
Gregorc, A. F. (1984). Style as a symptom: A phenomeno-
logical perspective. Theory into Practice, 23(1):51–
Herrmann, N. (1996). The Whole Brain Business Book.
McGraw-Hill, New York.
Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (2000). The Learning Styles
Helper’s Guide. Peter Honey Publications Ltd, Maid-
enhead, UK.
Huang, J. and Zhang, H. (2020). Redox reactions of iron
and manganese oxides in complex systems. Frontiers
of Environmental Science & Engineering, 14(5):76.
Jackson, C. and Lawty-Jones, M. (1996). Explaining the
overlap between personality and learning style. Per-
sonality and Individual Differences, 20(3):293–300.
Kabata-Pendias, A. (2011). Trace Elements in Soils and
Plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 4th edition.
Kholoshyn, I., Bondarenko, O., Hanchuk, O., and Var-
folomyeyeva, I. (2020). Cloud technologies as a
tool of creating Earth Remote Sensing educational re-
sources. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 2643:474–
Kolb, D. A. (2000). Facilitator’s Guide to Learning.
Hay/McBer, Boston, MA.
Lange, J. H. and Condelo III, A. V. (2016). Neurotoxicity of
manganism: An emerging issue. Journal of Headache
and Paint Management, 2(1:2):1–3.
Lee, S.-H., Chen, C.-Y., and Sok, K. (2010). Ex-
amining psychosocial impacts on academic
performance. Social Behavior and Personal-
ity: an International Journal, 38(7):969–978.
AET 2020 - Symposium on Advances in Educational Technology
Locatelli, C., Melucci, D., and Locatelli, M. (2014).
Toxic metals in herbal medicines. a review.
Current Bioactive Compounds, 10(3):181–188.
Mayer, R. M. (1993). Reaching the second tier:
Learning and teaching styles in college science ed-
ucation. College Science Teaching, 23(5):286–
Minarchenko, V. M. (2014). Resource Science. Medicinal
Plants. Fitosotsiocenter, Kyiv, Ukraine.
Modlo, Y., Semerikov, S., Bondarevskyi, S., Tolmachev, S.,
Markova, O., and Nechypurenko, P. (2020). Meth-
ods of using mobile internet devices in the forma-
tion of the general scientific component of bachelor in
electromechanics competency in modeling of techni-
cal objects. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 2547:217–
Myers, I. B. and McCaulley, M. H. (1998). Manual: a
Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-
Briggs Type Indicator. Consulting Psychologists
Press, Palo Alto, CA.
Nechypurenko, P., Evangelist, O., Selivanova, T., and
Modlo, Y. (2020a). Virtual chemical laboratories as
a tools of supporting the learning research activity of
students in chemistry while studying the topic “Solu-
tions”. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 2732:984–995.
Nechypurenko, P., Starova, T., Selivanova, T., Tomilina, A.,
and Uchitel, A. (2018). Use of augmented reality in
chemistry education. CEUR Workshop Proceedings,
Nechypurenko, P., Stoliarenko, V., Starova, T., Seliv-
anova, T., Markova, O., Modlo, Y., and Shmeltser,
E. (2020b). Development and implementation of
educational resources in chemistry with elements of
augmented reality. CEUR Workshop Proceedings,
Newton, P. M. (2015). The learning styles myth is thriv-
ing in higher education. Frontiers in Psychology,
Osadcha, K., Osadchyi, V., Semerikov, S., Chemerys, H.,
and Chorna, A. (2020). The review of the adaptive
learning systems for the formation of individual ed-
ucational trajectory. CEUR Workshop Proceedings,
Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., and Bjork, R.
(2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psy-
chological Science in the Public Interest, 9(3):105–
Prokopchuk, O. and Hrubinko, V. (2016). Heavy metals
in the small rivers of ternopil region under different
types of anthropogenic pressure. Biosystems Diver-
sity, 24(1):173–181.
Rahimi, S., Sohrabi, Y., Nafez, A. H., and M., D. (2017).
Learning styles in university education (systematic re-
view). Indian Journal of Public Health Research and
Development, 8(2):386–392.
Richardson, J. T. E. (2011). Approaches to studying,
conceptions of learning and learning styles in higher
education. Learning and Individual Differences,
Riding, R. (2002). School Learning and Cognitive Style.
David Fulton, London, 1st edition.
Rubio, C., Paz, S., Tius, E., Hardisson, A., Gutierrez,
A. J., Gonzalez-Weller, D., Caballero, J. M., and Re-
vert, C. (2018). Metal contents in the most widely
consumed commercial preparations of four different
medicinal plants (aloe, senna, ginseng, and ginkgo)
from Europe. Biological Trace Element Research,
Saarinen, A., Lipsanen, J., Hintsanen, M., Huotilainen,
M., and Keltikangas-J
arvinen, L. (2020). Student-
oriented teaching practices and educational equality:
a population-based study. Electronic Journal of Re-
search in Educational Psychology, 18(2):153–178.
Sahragard, R., Khajavi, Y., and Abbasian, R. (2016).
Field of study, learning styles, and language learning
strategies of university students: are there any rela-
tions? Innovation in Language Learning and Teach-
ing, 10(3):255–271.
Schmidt, S. B. and Husted, S. (2019). The biochemical
properties of manganese in plants. Plants, 8(10):381.
Sternberg, R. J. (1999). Thinking Styles. Cambridge Uni-
versity Press, Cambridge.
Sun, X., Hao, H., Liu, Z., and Zhao, F. (2020). Insights
into the global flow pattern of manganese. Resources
Policy, 65:101578.
Vermunt, J. D. (1996). Metacognitive, cognitive and
affective aspects of learning styles and strategies:
A phenomenographic analysis. Higher Education,
WHO (2007). WHO Guidelines for Assessing Quality of
Herbal Medicines with Reference to Contaminants
and Residues. WHO Press, Geneva.
Wininger, S. R., Redifer, J. L., Norman, A. D., and Ryle,
M. K. (2019). Prevalence of learning styles in educa-
tional psychology and introduction to education text-
books: A content analysis. Psychology Learning &
Teaching, 18(3):221–243. (2016). US Agency for Toxic Sub-
stances and Disease Registry. Toxic Substances Por-
Zaitsev, G. A., Dubrovina, O. A., and Shainurov, R. I.
(2020). Iron and manganese migration in ‘soil—plant’
system in Scots pine stands in conditions of contam-
ination by the steel plant’s emissions. Scientific Re-
ports, 10(1):11025.
The Learning-style-based Approach and Optimal Use of e-Resources in Teaching Ecological Disciplines