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Chapter 2

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES

Learning, which is said to be a process, consists of various dimensions including

planning, application, assessment and evaluation. In parallel with the developments in

instruction today, it is stated that the relation between the teaching, learning and

evaluation processes has become more productive.

Smutny and Fremd (2010) stated the importance of knowing the learning styles of

students in differentiated instruction. Students learning does not solely related to multiple

intelligence but to other factors, such as cognitive style. The term learning style is

sometimes used interchangeably for cognitive style. Cognitive style refers to “an

individual’s preferred and habitual modes of perceiving, remembering, organizing,

processing, and representing information”. For example, whether an individual is field-

dependent/ field-independent, holistic/analytic, deductive/inductive, and

impulsive/reflective determines his or her cognitive styles. Learning styles are related to

educational contexts while cognitive styles are rather neutral concepts (Dornyei, 2005, as

cited by Lee and Kim, 2014). In other words, learning style refers to learning-driven

cognitive styles.

While there is not one single definition of learning style that is commonly accepted

by everyone related to the issue, various definitions in which individual learning and

student preferences are emphasized and that are associated with personality exist in

literature. In brief, “Learning style is the usual way one prefers in the process of acquiring,

proceeding and storing new information.” and “… consists of distinctive behaviors which

serve as indicators of how a person learns from and adapts to his environment. It also

gives clues as to how a person’s mind operates” (Yazici, 2017).


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Grasha (1990), as cited by Warn (2009) defined it as “the preferences student have

for thinking, relating to others, and particular types of classroom environments and

experiences”.

Learning styles can be defined, classified, and identified in many different ways. It

can also be described as a set of factors, behaviors, and attitudes that enhance learning

in any situation. How the students learn and how the teachers teach, and how the two

interact with each others are influenced by different learning styles. Each person is born

with certain tendencies toward a particular style, and these biological characteristics are

influenced by external factors such as: cultures, personal experiences, and developments.

Each learner has different and consistent preferred ways of perception, organization and

retention. These learning styles are the indicators of how learners perceive, interact with,

and respond to the learning environments. Students have different styles of learning, and

they learn differently from one another (Chermahini, Ghanbari & Talab, 2013).

There are several factors that impact the students from high school seniors’

decision in what course they should take. From the phases that have proposed by

Jackson, which could affect a student’s decision in finding a decent course, there is still a

relevant factors in it (Vallente et.al. 2016).

Senior High School Track Preference is the choice of the student for senior high

school specialization. The choices are as follows: Academic, Technical-Vocational, Sports

and lastly Arts and Design. The Academic track has three strands: (1) Accountancy,

Business and Management, (2) Humanities and Social Sciences, and (3) Science,

Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. On the other hand, the specializations under

the Technical-Vocational fall either into four: (1) Agriculture and Fisheries, (2) Home

Economics, (3) Industrial Arts, and (4) Information and Communication Technology

(Japitan et.al. 2015). According to the findings of study conducted by using the Kolb

Learning Style Inventory, learning styles vary depending on individuals’ majors (social
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sciences, natural sciences etc.) and occupations (Kolb, Boyatzis, & Mainemelis, 2001

cited by Gokalp, 2013). Kolb, Wolfe, Fry, Bushe and Gish (1981) as cited by Gokalp

(20313), suggest that there are disciplinary differences in learning styles.

Learning Style Inventory (LSI) by Kolb (1976) as cited by Warn (2009) states that

an effective learner relies on four different learning modes, e.g. concrete experience,

reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. Each

learner possesses different learning modes to achieve his/her learning objectives. Kolb

(1976) further classifies learning style into four types, e.g. converger, diverger, assimilator

and accommodator. Converger combines abstract conceptualization and active

experimentation in order to test the theory in practice. Diverger combines concrete

experience and reflective observation and considers specific experience from different

perspectives. He is imaginative, interested in people and good at generating ideas.

Assimilator combines reflective observation and abstract conceptualization and excels in

the development of theoretical frameworks. Finally, the accommodator combines concrete

experience and active experimentation, using the results of his/her testing as a basis for

new learning.

According to the study of Ababneh (2015) regarding the Learning Styles and

Preferences of Jordanian EFL Graduate Students, it proved that there is no statistically

significant relationship between students' learning styles and their achievement in English,

as most of the students were considered poor in English. This result is reasonable in some

way because not all good students have the chance to complete their graduate studies,

only those who are able to pay for the university have the chance to enroll in graduate

programs. Consequently, some of them withdraw from the program or change their major

to an easier one. Furthermore, the data also show that there is no significant relationship

between students' learning styles and their proficiency in English. This finding may be

explained in two ways. On the one hand, it is well acknowledged that most of the students
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are considered poor achievers in English and this is clear from the data as 57.1% of them

were classified as poor or weak students. On the other hand, most of the study subjects

were females. And females in our culture are usually shy and conservative. They even

speak in low voice and try to keep silent a matter that affects their participation and ability

to discuss topics in classes. This of course has a negative effect on their proficiency

results. Finally, the study also reveals that the participants use different learning styles or

preferences for learning and there is no right or wrong classifications as everyone uses

the appropriate learning style that brings some degree of learning as an outcome at the

end. For example some of the participants are shy and sensitive, while others are high

risk takers and others enjoy high self-esteem. Some have high confidence in their ability

to learn English and are extroverts and they are highly internally motivated to learn English

to fulfil their personal goals. In addition, they are equally divided between those who use

their left brain on the one side and those who use their right brain on the other side. On

the other side, most of the students enjoy a reflective learning style as they think carefully

before they speak and try not to make mistakes. To sum up, "there is not a “one-size fits

all" approach to teaching and learning, to use, Jorgensen (2006) words.

Graham, Garton and Gawdy (20012) suggested the low positive relationships were

found between students' learning styles and their performance on exams and quizzes,

and in their overall course performance. Although the relationships were low, they were in

the positive direction, indicating that as students moved toward a field-independent

learning style their achievement in the course slightly increased.

Gappi (2013) the research has shown that the students were in general fairly well-

balanced learners in terms of the dimensions used in the questionnaire. There were no

significant differences between learning style preferences and the profile variables of the

students. There was no significant correlation between the academic achievement and

the learning style preferences of the participants. While it was established that the learning
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styles preferences of the students were not correlated to the academic achievement of

students, large scale studies are recommended to further the investigate on the influence

of the learning styles on the teaching- learning progression.

No significant association observed between the learning style and the academic

performance for both subjects. There could be other possible predictor of academic

performance. It may be attributable to the study strategy (surface or deep), which has

been proven to have significant relationship between the two constructs by (Cano, 2005;

Fenollar et al., in press; Phan, 2006; Simons et al., 2004).as cited by Phan (2008).

The study made by Wilkinson, Boohan & Stevenson (2013) was designed to

investigate the learning styles of first year medical and dental students at Queen's

University Belfast and to find out whether these have any influence on academic

performance, specifically in different types of assessment. Although correlations between

learning style and type of assessment were statistically significant in some cases, they

generally appeared to be weak, and in most assessments there was no correlation.

Therefore the three hypotheses formulated at the beginning of the project were not

accepted and the conclusions for this study are that overall academic performance is not

influenced by learning style and academic performance in different forms of assessment

is not influenced by learning style.

However, some studies proved the relationship of students’ learning styles into

their academic performance. Bosman (2015) concluded from the results that the learning

style that was most significantly related to academic achievements in English and

mathematics of the 223 sample was an individual learning style. However, top achievers

did not use only one learning style. Other learning styles that they implemented as needed

were reading, writing, an auditory and a kinesthetic learning style. Top achievers were

also self-regulated learners that actively constructed new knowledge - an indication of a

constructivist learning style.


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Wei, Hoo & See (2011) in their study, “Relationship between Learning Styles and

Content Based Academic Achievement among Tertiary Level Students’ suggested that

participants’ preferred learning styles have significant influence on students’ academic

achievements. Hence, the finding confirmed the outcome study being carried out by Wing

and Hoi (2009) that there are relationships between learning and student achievement.

Seyal et.al. (2015) revealed that students‟ learning styles have significant influence

on students‟ academic performances. From this study, it can be emphasized that knowing

students‟ preferred learning style is really an important aspect for the facilitators/lecturers

in designing the pedagogical strategies for individual students. In addition, knowing

students‟ preferred learning style helps to overcome the predisposition of many lecturers

who treat students with one style of teaching to all. So lecturers must try to match students‟

learning style with their teaching/lecturing approaches. Thus motivate more students to

achieve their academic goals. Under the conventional teaching methods, lecturer

emphasize on just simple lecturing as a mode of delivery which might not be effective.

Therefore, lecturers should use multiple modes of information.