Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Students' Learning Styles and Intrinsic Motivation in Learning Mathematics

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Students' Learning Styles and Intrinsic Motivation in Learning Mathematics

Article excerpt


This study aims to determine the types of learning styles and intrinsic motivation of IKTBNS students and to the relationship between learning styles and intrinsic motivation of students; and difference in learning styles and intrinsic motivation based on gender. This study was carried out by survey research method. The sample consists of 78 students from two departments in National Advanced Youth Skill Training Institute of Sepang (IKTBNS). The Inventory of Learning instrument was used, which postulated four learning styles and three types of intrinsic motivations which are practised by the students in learning mathematics. Data gathered were analyzed descriptively and inferentially using the SPSS package. Result from the descriptive analysis found that the students showed high learning style of surface, while the highly practised intrinsic motivation is self-efficacy as compared to efforts and worry. Inferential analysis results found a significant relationship between hard work learning styles and effort intrinsic motivation. There is a significant difference between genders in organisation learning style as well as genders in effort intrinsic motivation. The implications of this study indicate that motivational factors play an important role in determining the selection of learning styles practised by the students.

Keywords: learning styles, intrinsic motivation, mathematics

1. Introduction

Academic achievement is closely linked to learning styles and motivation. Several studies have been carried out and have identified that learning styles and motivation differ based on someone's needs and knowledge. Learning styles refer to the method used by an individual to focus and retain new and difficult information. One of the significant challenge a teacher face is to be tolerant and matching the teaching strategies with the students' learning styles in order to recognize learning differences among their student's and also to improve their academic achievement (Tulbure, 2012). Starting from this issue at least two essential questions are asking for an answer: Could a suitable learning styles can improve students mathematics achievement? If the answer is yes, what can be the factor to identify suitable learning style for a student?

In order to answer the first question, a considerable amount of research has confirmed that there is a relationship between learning styles and academic achievement (Dobson, 2010; Indreica, Cazan, & Truta, 2011; Aziz & Ahmad, 2008). However, there are studies shows that there is no relationship between learning styles and academic achievement (Aripin, Mahmood, Rohaizad, Yeop, & Anuar, 2008; Ilias, Rahman, Noor, & Saidon, 2010). Considering the variety of the existent data, this issue seems to be controversial. Therefore, this study is still needs further investigation. We consider few types of learning styles before select a suitable types of learning style for sample.

Selmes (1987) has reviewed the difficulties in learning from students' and teachers' perspectives. She has discovered five types of learning styles which are deep approach, surface approach, organisation, motivation and hard work to learn mathematics. The study revealed that students are not tied to only one type of learning style.

Variety of learning styles developed by Grasha (2002) through a model called Grasha-Riechmann Student Learning Styles Scales (G-RSLSS). G-RSLSS is based on the behaviors of students from six different types of learning styles, which are competitive, collaborative, avoidant, participant, dependent and independent. According to Grasha (2002), competitive learners like to be the center of attention and receive recognition, collaborative learners can work together with teachers and others in the classroom, avoidant learners are uninterested and overwhelmed by things around them, participant learners enjoy going to class and taking part in classroom activities, dependent learners are the ones who need guidance and instruction from teachers or peers on things they have to do, and independent learners are the ones prefer to learn the content themselves. …

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