Academic journal article College Student Journal

Learning Styles and Effective Learning Habits of University Students: A Case from Turkey

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Learning Styles and Effective Learning Habits of University Students: A Case from Turkey

Article excerpt

This study investigates learning styles and effective learning habits in a Turkish University. Research based on a small private university in Istanbul found that the percentages of undergraduate students examined by Kolb's Learning Style Inventory listed in rank order from most to least were convergers first, assimilators second, accommodators and divergers (almost equal percentages) last. Moreover, this pattern remained stable when gender, faculty, grade level, academic success, weekly time management and study planning variables were at issue. On the other hand, it was observed that significantly higher levels of effective learning habits were revealed in women, seniors, academically successful ones, and students who studied regularly as well as engaged in social activities; however, using different learning styles did not make any contribution to the level of the use of effective learning habits. The results were discussed from an applied perspective and in the current higher education admission system in Turkey.

Keywords learning styles; learning strategies; study habits; university students; study strategies

Introduction

Families, students, and institutions invest enormous financial resources in higher education. Moreover, this investment is not solely financial; students also try to build up their adult life and gain effective equipments in the higher education process. Motivation to protect this investment and the rates of failing in university and dropping out from graduate school force researchers to understand the variables related to academic success and failure, and share this knowledge with all stakeholders, namely families, students, universities, as well as policy makers.

Educational achievement depends not only on the intellectual ability and skills of the learner, but also on the individual's learning style (Kolb, 1984), which refers to the consistent way in which a learner responds to or interacts with stimuli in the learning context, as a replacement of cognitive styles theorems from 1970s (Loo, 2004). Learning styles are defined as different ways used by individuals to process and organize information and as a sort of way of thinking, comprehending and processing information (Kolb, 1984; Sadler-Smith, 1996). In this sense, learning style is related to both sensory and the mental. Kolb's Learning Cycle and Learning Style Inventory (Kolb, 1984) are widely used in order to understand the stages of learning and the ways people prefer to receive and process new information.

In the literature, study skills refer to the student's knowledge of study methods, the ability to manage time and available resources to meet the demands of academic tasks. Study habits reflect regular acts of studying in which the students engage in. Study attitudes are defined as attitudes toward studying, and students' approval of the broader goals of higher education (Crede & Kuncel, 2008). Many researchers are interested in identifying these variables that contribute to the performance of a university student's academic success. Some empirical findings, on the other hand, have demonstrated that a significant number of undergraduates possess inadequate study skills, such as difficulties with time management, note-taking, understanding how to prepare for different types of tests, and managing anxiety. Fortunately, examples of qualities or behaviors such as student motivation, learning habits, study skills and beliefs about success, may be enhanced via external instructions and support (Proctor, Prevatt, Adams, Reaser, & Petscher, 2006). As can be seen, university students' approaches to learning vary and their ways of learning may not always match those that professors use in their teaching. Which learning styles do students prefer? How do effective learning habits relate to their individual characteristics and skills, like time management and studying? The current study explores learning styles and effective learning habits in a Turkish university. …

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