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CRUCIAL ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEARNING STYLE AND STUDENT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

For a long time, educational research has been focused on determining how individuals learn, which is a topic of significant interest to those working in higher education. The notion of learning styles, which comes in a variety of forms, arose as a result of this. Cheema (1991) defines cognitive style as “the way students approach cognitive activities and make sense of their reality,” whereas learning preferences (Grasha, 1974) are “the way students like to be taught.” When it comes to studying, learning methods (Ramsden, 1983) refer to how students use certain tactics (surface, deep, strategic), whereas information processing (learning style) (Mumford, 1986) refers to how students typically approach various learning activities. According to cross-cultural study, certain ethnic groups have learning styles that differ from those of other ethnic groups (Dunn, 1990). Witkin (1975) discovered that people’s learning methods are influenced by their cultural backgrounds. While not all members of a given culture lean in the same manner, there are certain commonalities in how individuals of other cultures lean more efficiently (Flannery, 1991). Other factors of the individual, such as gender or academic major, might explain any variation in learning methods (Escolme, 1990). Pierson (1984) discovered that age and past experience have a greater impact on learning style than gender or ethnicity. Students’ perceived awareness of learning styles, according to Claxton (1987), boosted their academic achievement in college courses. Nelson (1993) discovered that knowing about students’ learning methods preferences improves their success and lowers their dropout rate in college. Corlett (1992) discovered that when students are taught in a way that matches their learning styles, they have higher academic success, have better attitudes about learning, and have fewer discipline issues. Learning styles are related to grade point average and parental education, according to Kirk (1986). However, there is no substantial correlation between age, gender, and college major/minor. The purpose for assessing student learning styles, according to Blank and James (1993), is to be able to offer a learning environment that maximizes learning for each student by teaching to his or her strengths and avoiding weaknesses. The link between intellect, critical thinking, and learning styles has been studied a bit. The following are only a few of them: According to Schmeck (1978), pupils who scored well on critical thinking also scored well on deep processing but poorly on systematic study. This revealed that deep processors had high reflective thinking abilities, although methodical pupils have poor skills. Review of Related Studies Stewart (1979) investigated the disparity. Hackman (1988) conducted project.com.ng/list-of-project-and-materials/">research to see if there are variations in learning style preferences between gifted and non-gifted pupils. The study’s findings demonstrated that gifted and non-gifted kids have significantly different learning styles. In contrast to their non-gifted peers, gifted students expressed strong positive preferences for a cluster of self-directed instructional activities (independent study, discussion, and teaching games) and strong negative preferences for several teacher-directed activities (lecture and programmed instruction), whereas non-gifted students expressed strong positive preferences for a cluster of teacher-directed activities (programmed instruction, lecture, and teaching games) (projects and discussion). It may be deduced from this that IQ and learning style are linked. There is widespread agreement that how people choose to or are predisposed to approach a learning scenario has an influence on performance and accomplishment of learning outcomes, according to Verma and Tiku (1990). Learning style has been the subject of a wide range of definitions, theoretical premises, models, interpretations, and assessments, probably because it has been the subject of so many research and practitioner-based studies in the field. The three largest dilemmas, according to Keefe (1997), are: “How can we increase our kids’ success if we don’t know how they learn?” ‘ How can we claim to be serious about building a learning society if we have no good answers to the problems of what model of learning we employ and how we use to better our own and our students’ practice? The concept that instructors, course designers, and educational psychologists should focus more on students’ learning styles by diagnosing them, encouraging learners to reflect on them, and building teaching and learning interventions around them has a strong intuitive appeal. Learners will be more motivated to learn if they are aware of their strengths and flaws. As a result, teachers will be able to adapt to students’ strengths and limitations, resulting in higher retention and success rates in formal programs, and learning to learn skills will create a basis for lifetime learning. Sternberg (1997) claimed that styles are at least somewhat socialized, implying that they may be adjusted to some extent. As a result, knowing one’s preferred learning style can aid in the optimal development of meta-cognition and learning skills and abilities, hence maximizing learning (Sternberg, 1997). In conclusion, Sternberg (1997) stated that having a better understanding of students’ learning preferences and styles allows teachers to be more flexible in their instruction and use a variety of classroom techniques. The goal is to assist learners improve their abilities and capacities to learn successfully in both preferred and less preferred modes of learning (meta-learning), resulting in effective and life-long learners who can monitor and assess their learning techniques and outcomes. Although it has been shown that students’ learning styles have a major impact on their academic accomplishment, these conclusions are based on studies performed in other nations 4 and vary across country. According to Gokalp (2013), a country never ceases exploring and developing its own learning techniques in order to meet the unique needs of its environment (Yamazaki, 2005). Bennett (1993), for example, notes that African Americans’ learning patterns may be at odds with the teaching methods used in most institutions. As a result, the goal of this study is to investigate the link between learning styles and academic accomplishment from a country-context perspective (Bennett, 1993). The findings of this study add to the existing body of knowledge and support the belief that learning styles as determined by self-assessment instruments improve academic achievement because learners can discover their preferred method of knowledge acquisition and learning process in a learning situation, particularly in secondary school.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Because of the present poor accomplishment in practically all academic disciplines, it is clear that students have not yet learnt how to learn or identified their preferred learning methods for various learning materials or information in this subject. Furthermore, teachers have failed to recognize the uniqueness of their students in a regular classroom, and they continue to use the same old teaching methods in all situations (Sternberg, 1997). As a result, children get bored and inattentive in class, do badly on examinations, lose interest in the topic, the curriculum, and themselves, and, in the worst-case scenario, drop out of school. When faced with bad grades, inattentive or aggressive pupils, poor attendance, and dropouts, teachers recognize that something isn’t working; they may become unduly critical of their students (worsening the situation), or they may begin to question if they are in the appropriate profession. Learning style theories have been highlighted as an effective technique of assisting instructors in recognizing the immensely various demands that students bring into the classroom, as well as assisting students in determining how they learn best for maximum academic success (Tiku, 1990). Furthermore, these theories provide a framework that enables teachers to get the most out of their students by developing a variety of instructional methodologies that benefit all students, and, more importantly, by assisting students in learning how to learn and, as a result, achieving better academic results. To produce effective and successful learners, it is critical to understand learners’ preferred learning styles and how they connect to educational achievements.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The primary goal of this research is to determine whether there is a link between learning style and academic achievement among secondary school pupils. The following are the specific objectives that will lead the research:

i. Determine the students’ preferred learning style.

ii. To figure out how well children are doing in school.

iii. To establish a link between the study’s learning style and its academic success.

iv. Determine what steps may be made to assist kids with poor academic achievement.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following questions will assist the researcher in carrying out the investigation and achieving the indicated goals:

i. What are  the students’ preferred learning style?

ii.  How can it be known how well children are doing in school?

iii. What is the link between the study’s learning style and its academic success?

iv. What steps may be made to assist kids with poor academic achievement?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The goal of this study is to help instructors and educational psychologists/researchers better understand the various learning styles that students prefer. In addition, the researcher intends to collect sufficient data to assist teachers in recognizing the essential link between learning style preferences and academic accomplishment. If a significant relationship is discovered, the theory that learning styles play a critical role in students’ academic achievement will gain more credibility, and the learning style assessment instrument proposed for this study (the Barsch Learning Styles Inventory) will become a tool to help teachers understand and adjust their learners’ learning styles to maximize learning and thus improve academic achievement. But, more crucially, instructors will assist students in discovering their own learning, a process known as meta-learning, and in becoming effective and lifelong learners. Students will also benefit from knowing their own learning style, as they will be able to regulate or guide their own learning by changing their habits and materials for optimal learning. According to Sternberg (1997), when students study in a method that is comfortable for them, the learning process is more successful.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

Some Selected Secondary Students in Kano State, Nigeria are the focus of this investigation.

1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The most significant challenge encountered throughout this study is time; the project.com.ng/list-of-project-and-materials/">researcher has a limited amount of time to finish the research, as well as inadequate funds to support the project and visit more than one school.

1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Analysis is a term that refers to a thorough investigation of something’s components or structure.

Correlation: A reciprocal link or connection between two or more items is referred to as correlation.

Learning styles are a person’s particular approach to learning.

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