Learning styles and approaches to studying implications for achievement
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Learning Styles and Approaches to Studying: Implications for Achievement. Dr Derek Peters 1 , Gareth Jones 1 , & Dr John Peters 2 1 School of Sport & Exercise Science 2 Learning & Teaching Centre University College Worcester UK. Introduction:. Learning styles:

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Learning styles and approaches to studying implications for achievement

Learning Styles and Approaches to Studying: Implications for Achievement

Dr Derek Peters1, Gareth Jones1, & Dr John Peters2

1School of Sport & Exercise Science

2Learning & Teaching Centre

University College Worcester

UK


Introduction

Introduction:

  • Learning styles:

    • Categories of learning style vary:

      • activist, reflector, theorist, pragmatist (Honey & Mumford, 1992)

      • visual, aural, read/write and kinesthetic of VARK

    • styles are personal attributes of the learner (Ramburuth, 1997, cited in Prosser & Trigwell, 1999)


Learning styles and approaches to studying implications for achievement

  • Approaches to study:

    • origins in the work of Marton & Säljö (1976 a&b)

    • phenomenographic paradigm

    • surface and deep approach to learning

    • clear which approach is considered:

      • best for learning

      • most appropriate to Higher Education


Purpose

Purpose:

  • To examine student learning using learning styles and approaches to studying analysis

  • Make tentative recommendations for HE teachers seeking to enhance learning in sports related programmes


Objectives

Objectives:

  • Identify and evaluate the ‘preferred learning styles’ and ‘approaches to studying’ of students in each of the three levels of sports-related undergraduate programmes

  • Relationships between ‘learning styles’, ‘approaches to studying’ and grade profiles

  • Recommendations for guidelines for learning, teaching and assessment based on discipline specific evidence


Method

Method:

  • Perceptual Learning Style Preference Questionnaire (PLSPQ - Reid, 1987)

  • Approaches to Studying Questionnaire (ASQ – Richardson, 1990)

  • All students on sport-related HE programmes at UCW and its partner colleges (possible n=450).

  • Academic achievement:

    • mean mark for the four modules undertaken in the same semester in which the research data was collected

    • categorised according to UCW marking and grading criteria.


Results sample

231 males:

104 yr 1

90 yr 2

37 yr 3

5 UMS courses

3 HND courses

107 females:

30 yr 1

55 yr 2

22 yr 3

2 UMS courses

3 HND courses

Results: Sample


Learning styles and approaches to studying implications for achievement

  • Predominantly traditional entry

  • 7% mature

  • 97% white


Distribution of mean actual mark for four modules taken in semester 2 2003 4

Distribution of mean actual mark for four modules taken in semester 2 2003/4

E

4%

D

24%

C

49%

B

21%

A

2%


Significant grade findings

Significant grade findings:

  • females higher grades than males (p<0.01)

  • Yr 3 attained higher grades than Yr 1 (p<0.05)

  • No sig. diff. for:

    • mature student status

    • programme scheme (UMS vs. HND)

    • course programme

    • entry-level qualification


Questionnaire analysis

Questionnaire Analysis:

  • PLSPQ (Reid, 1987):

    • PCA with five factors enforced identified the six subscales.

    • Internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha):

      • Tactile α = 0.80

      • Group α = 0.91

      • Kinesthetic α = 0.72

      • Individual α = 0.90

      • revised Auditory α = 0.53

      • revised Visual α = 0.68


Questionnaire analysis1

Questionnaire Analysis:

  • ASQ (Richardson, 1990):

    • PCA concluded that the 8 subscales of the questionnaire were not supported by the data!

    • two factor subscales for ‘Meaning’ (8 items) and ‘Reproducing’ (12 items) orientation:

      • modest construct validity (explained only 26.1% variance)

      • modest internal consistency (α = 0.62 and 0.68)

    • Not a useful tool in this population


Results learning styles

RESULTS: learning styles


Learning styles and approaches to studying implications for achievement

A

K

G

I


Learning styles and approaches to studying implications for achievement

T

V

Multiple ‘major’ preferences


Inter relationships

Auditory

Visual

Individual

Tactile

Group

Inter-relationships?

Visual

0.096

-

-

-

-

Individual

0.079

0.330**

-

-

-

Tactile

-0.096

-0.101

-0.101

-

-

Group

-0.042

-0.199**

-0.643**

0.181**

-

Kinesthetic

-0.038

-0.156**

-0.186**

0.345**

0.270**

Spearman’s Rank order correlation coefficients


Significant findings

Significant findings:

  • Course programmes?

  • HND ORM > tactile than UMS Sports Studies

  • HND ORM < auditory than UMS Sports Studies, Sport & Exercise Science p<0.002

  • Yr 3 > auditory than Yr 1 p<0.02

  • Grade category relationships?

  • Small significant correlation with individual learning style category (rho=0.247; p<0.001)

  • Small significant negative correlation with group learning style category (rho=-0.178; p<0.001)


Learning styles and approaches to studying implications for achievement

RESULTS: approach to studying


Significant findings1

Significant findings:

  • No sig. diffs. in ‘Meaning’ or ‘Reproducing’ orientation between the year groups, courses or course programmes

  • Females > ‘Reproducing’ orientation scale than males (p<0.01)

  • Mature students > ‘Meaning’ orientation and < ‘Reproducing’ orientation than none mature students (p<0.05).


Approach and grade

Reproducing orientation

Level of autonomy

Grade category

Approach and grade?

Meaning orientation

-0.082

0.293**

0.186**

Reproducing orientation

-

-0.174**

-0.099

Level of autonomy

-

-

0.288**

Spearman’s Rank order correlation * p<0.01, ** p<0.001


Learning styles and approaches to study

Learning Style (category)

Meaning orientation

Reproducing orientation

learning styles and approaches to study?

Visual

0.100

-0.044

Auditory

0.185**

0.092

Individual

0.091

-0.040

Kinesthetic

0.148**

0.009

Group

0.066

0.082

Tactile

0.133*

0.054

Spearman’s Rank order correlation * p<0.01, ** p<0.001


Discussion

DISCUSSION:

  • first collection and analysis of unique discipline specificdata.

  • females more able to select the necessary approach to study for achievement of the task at hand?

  • evidence for the effective integration of students from diverse backgrounds?

  • increased self-rated level of autonomy in successive levels of undergraduate programmes related to higher grades - resultant from the strategic approach by UCW?


Conclusions 1

CONCLUSIONS 1:

  • preferred ‘learning styles’ identified as auditory, kinesthetic and group

  • vast majority of students are multi-modal

  • individual learning style positively related to higher grade

  • group learning style negatively related to grade category


Conclusions 2

CONCLUSIONS 2:

  • positive relationships between meaning orientation, perceived autonomy and higher grade category

  • negative relationship between reproducing orientation and grade category

  • tailor sport learning activities to best fit the learning styles of sports students?

    • evidence of use of the full range of learning styles in sports students would make this approach problematic.


Thoughts 1

Thoughts 1:

  • rebalance learning opportunities to emphasis particular learning styles while still seeking to ensure that all learning styles are supported

  • already inclining certain types of learner to undertake HE sports study?

    • FE experiences?

    • Nature vs nurture?


Thoughts 2

Thoughts 2:

  • possible to change the approach adopted by students over time through alteration of the context?

    • longitudinal research?

  • deep approach to learning engendered by alterations to the curriculum, teaching methods and assessment?


Thanks for listening

Thanks for listening!

[email protected]


Useful references

Useful references:

  • Clifford, V.A. (1999). The Development of Autonomous Learners in a University Setting. Higher Education Research & Development,18 (1), 115–128.

  • Diseth, A. and Martinsen, Ø. (2003). Approaches to learning, cognitive style and motives as predictors of academic achievement. Educational Psychology, 23 (2), 195-201.

  • Gibbs, G. and Coffey, M. (2004). The impact of training on university teachers on their teaching skills, their approach to teaching and the approach to learning of their students. Active Learning in Higher Education, 5 (1), 87-100.

  • Harrelson, GL., Leaver-Dunn, D. and Wright, KE. (1998). An assessment of learning styles among undergraduate athletic training students. Journal of Athletic Training, 33 (1), 50-53.

  • Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1992). The Manual of Learning Styles. Maidenhead, UK: Peters Honey.


Learning styles and approaches to studying implications for achievement

Useful references:

  • Marton, F. and Säljö, R. (1976a). On qualitative differences in learning I – outcomes and processes. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 46, 4-11.

  • Marton, F. & Säljö, R (1976b). On the qualitative difference in learning II-Outcome as a function of the Learner's conception of the task. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 46, 115-127.

  • Prosser, M. and Trigwell, K. (1999). Understanding Learning and Teaching: The Experience in Higher Education. Milton Keynes UK: SRHE/Open University Press.

  • Reid, J.M. (1987). ‘The learning style preferences of ESL students’, TESOL Quarterly, 21 (1), 87-111.

  • Richardson, J.T.E. (1990). Reliability and Replicability of the Approaches to Studying Questionnaire. Studies in Higher Education15 (2) 155-168.


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