Academic journal article College Student Journal

Differences in Learning Styles of College Students Attending Similar Universities in Different Geographic Locations

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Differences in Learning Styles of College Students Attending Similar Universities in Different Geographic Locations

Article excerpt

This study investigated differences in learning styles between students at similar universities located in geographically distinct locations using Schemeck, Ribich and Ramanaiah's (1977) Inventory of Learning Processes (ILP). Students at the midwestern university scored significantly higher than the students at the western university on both the Deep Processing and Methodical Study subscales of the ILP. In addition, male students at both institutions scored significantly higher on the Deep. Processing subscale and significantly lower on the Methodical Study subscale than female students. These findings indicate the importance of continued investigation into differences that exist with respect to learning styles, such as gender, within institutions, and between institutions, and what may initially cause these differences. In addition, these results indicate the importance of validating findings with respect to learning styles at another similar institution.

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Previous research (Gadzella, Stephens, & Baloglu, 2002; Kozminsky & Kaufman, 1992; Miller, Always, & McKinley, 1987; Schmeck, Ribich, & Ramanaiah, 1977) indicates that success at the college level is highly influenced by an individual's learning style. Further studies have aimed to delineate differences in the learning styles of particular populations of students. The majority of these studies have focused on identifying potential differences in the learning styles employed by students of different genders (Kozminsky & Kaufman, 1992; Miller et al., 1987; Miller, Finley, & McKinley, 1990; Schmeck & Ribich, 1978; Schmeck et al., 1977; Verma, 1994), ethnicity (Gadzella, Masten, & Huang, 1999; Matthews, 1994), majors (Biberman & Buchanan, 1986; Gadzella & Masten, 1998; Matthews, 1994; Skogsberg & Clump, 2003; Stewart & Felicetti, 1992), upper or lower divisional standing (Skogsberg & Clump, 2003; Stewart & Felicetti, 1992) and university type (Reading-Brown & Hayden, 1989). However, many of these studies have contradictory findings. Could these incongruous findings be due to the fact that the research has been conducted at universities with dissimilar populations? Could there be an effect due to the university's academic orientation, or the geographic location of the university itself?. The present study seeks to gain insight into these factors by comparing the learning styles of students attending two universities of similar size and Carnegie classification, but in distinct geographic locations.

A considerable amount of literature indicates that the learning styles Schmeck et al.'s (197) Inventory of Learning Processes measures relate to academic achievement when it is measured by the diverse factors of GPA, college entrance exams, or course grades (Albaili, 1993; 1994; Bartling, 1988; Gadzella, Ginther, & Williamson, 1987; Gadzella et al., 2002; Kozminsky & Kaufman, 1992; Miller et al., 1987; Miller et al., 1990; Schmeck & Grove, 1979; Watkins & Hattie, 1981; Watkins, Hattie, & Astilla, 1983; Westman, 1993).

Dissension between studies begins to appear when the learning styles of students of discrete populations are investigated. During the development of the ILP, Schmeck et al. (1977) did not find significant differences between the learning styles of male and female students, which is consistent with what other researchers have found (Kozminsky & Kaufman, 1992; Miller et al., 1987; Schmeck & Ribich, 1978; Verma, 1994). More recently, however, Miller et al. (1990) conducted a comparison of the learning styles between males and females using the same instrument and found that there were indeed significant differences between the genders. In this study, Miller and his associates found that males scored significantly higher on the Deep Processing subscale, and females scored significantly higher on the Methodical Study subscale. Furthermore, Matthews (1994) using Canfield's Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) also found significant differences in the learning styles of males and females, even when the samples were limited to discrete disciplines such as math, business, social sciences and education. …

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