Learning style is vital in serving as the foundation for students to learn a new knowledge or enhance prior knowledge. Learning is knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study (Merriam-Webster, 2007).Style on the other hand is the tendencies and preferences of an individual when dealing with intellectual functioning (Brown,2007).
Neil Fleming the creator of the VARK questionnaire to identify learning style says that every individual has his or her own set of learning style. Learning style focuses on the way we perceive information and knowledge (Fleming, 2005).Fleming (2005), says each individual has his or her own individual profile of preference in the aspect of style of learning.
However, does gender play a role in influencing the learning style of an individual?
In Australasian Journal of Educational Technology a research was done on male and female attitude towards a computer based classroom. The study showed that male students prefer stimulation, excitement, adventure, strategy and action. Whereas the female students prefer something creative, they are keener on creating that destroying (Wing & Hou, 2010).
Keri (2002) also conveys that male and females have differing learning styles, he says female have abstract and conceptual learning styles whereas males are inclined towards concrete and practical learning style (Bayrak & Altun 2009).
According to Tatarinceva & Blumenau (2007), males tend to be more kinaesthetic, tactual and visual in their learning. They require mobility and are more informal. They tend to learn less through listening. Female on the other hand is said to be more auditory-orientated, they are less mobile then males and needs more silence while learning.
Furthermore, Tatarinceva & Blumenau (2007), suggest that males prefer to learn if you give them the possibility to talk more in public settings compared to females who prefer to talk in private settings because conversation is important to maintain relationships.
Moreover, males do better on task that are related to logic and problem solving and travel direction task compared to females who connect to their task by remembering verbal information, faces, names, object locations and landmarks (Tatarinceva, 2009).
In terms of language, females exceeds in terms of verbal fluency, vocabulary and quality of speech, males do better in writing but experience reading disability, they do better on tasks connected to logic and situational problems (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
However in contrast study done by Babadogan & Arslan (2009) states that learning style do not differ according to gender (Bayrak & Altun 2009). Similarly Demir (2006) who did a research on primary school showed that there is no meaningful difference between when it comes to influence of gender on learning styles (Bayrak & Altun 2009).
1.2 Statement of problem
It is immensely important to understand the learning style preference of undergraduates because the level of excellence and performance of undergraduates is directly linked to their future careers or pursuing their postgraduate education. Employers and postgraduate educators believe that undergraduates already have the entire prerequisite or skill required for them to serve them in their chosen career or in a postgraduate education. Thus, it is crucial that to improve learning and retention during undergraduate education in order to make sure that students are well prepared and capable of handling obstacles and challenges they will face in the future, either in postgraduate studies or future careers (Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007).
Moreover, one of the ways for instructors to improve student learning, retention and motivation is by adapting teaching approaches to meet the different learning style preference of undergraduates. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether differences of learning style preference exist between male and female undergraduates therefore this study is done to identify whether differences between genders exist among UTAR undergraduates so that it will aid instructors to develop more efficient teaching approaches and methods (Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007).
1.3 Purpose of Study
The objectives of this study are:
To determine the learning style preference of undergraduate students.
To find out, whether students learning style preference were directly influenced by their gender
To investigate reasons for difference of learning style preference among male and female undergraduates
1.4 Research Questions:
Is there significant correlation between gender and learning style preference?
Is learning style more individualistic or gender orientated?
Is there a different sensory modal for males and females?
1.5 Scope of Study
Participants in this study will consist of undergraduates from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kampar Campus. These participants will be chosen from three faculties. Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Faculty of Business and Finance and Faculty of Science. 10 participants will be chosen randomly from each faculty which makes it 30 participants in total. A total of 30 students comprising of 15 females and 15 males will be give a questionnaire to complete. Equal number male and female participants were chosen in order to have a non-biased comparison between the two genders.
For better understanding of students sensory modalities, the VARK questionnaire developed by Fleming will be used to identify the learning style of the undergraduates. Students will choose from multiple questions to match their preferred learning style.
30 undergraduates from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman of Kampar campus will be chosen randomly from three different faculties. Each participant will be given a questionnaire which is required to be completed within 8 to 10 minutes. Survey administered is adapted from VARK questionnaire develop by Neil Fleming The questionnaire consist of 14 questions with multiple option of A B C D, options are drawn from real-life examples and situation. The data collected will be tabulated and analysed in order to get a more comprehensive finding of the study.
1.7 Significance of Study
Through this research we will be able to discover whether does gender a play a role in the selection of learning style among undergraduate or is it just an over speculated topic.
Moreover through this study we will be able to distinguish whether or not gender plays a role in learning style selection. Through this research we would want to detach gender stereotyping from learning style so that we can know each individual's learning style.
Furthermore, through this research we will be able to understand each gender more in depth in relation to learning style. We will be able to distinguish whether gender affects learning style. It is important not to let gender interfere with the selection of learning style.
Besides that, by identifying the differences, instructors/teacher will be able to tailor their teaching style and assessment to meet the student's learning style preference. We also are able to find out which sensory modality they prefer when they receive new information or deal with challenges and obstacles.
1.8 Definition Concepts:
Learning Style: Defined as cognitive, affective and psychological traits that are relatively stable indicators of how learner perceive, interact with, and respond to the new learning environment (Brown, 2007).
Gender: Defined as the behavioural, cultural or psychological traits typically associated with one sex. (Merriam-Webster, 2007).
Stereotype: An idea that many people have about a thing or group and that may often be untrue or only partly true (Merriam-Webster, 2007).
1. The survey designed did not take in count of other factors such as socioeconomic, status, race, culture and other factors.
2. The sample were non-random sampling, therefore the population surveyed are rather homogenous thus the drawback of this study would be the lack of variety and other confounding factors.
3. Besides that, the survey administered was anonymous; therefore it is difficult to make a definite outcome that links a particular behaviour of students' action or performance to their choice of learning style.
4. Due to time constraint the sample size was limited to UTAR undergraduates only and survey was administered to three faculties only namely; Faculty of Social Science & Arts, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Business and Finance.
Over the years many researcher have been done gender differences and learning style. Many researchers have been done on learning style preference of males and females. Nevertheless, till date research is still being done on gender and their learning style. Most researchers found distinguishing difference between male and female and some researchers believe that learning style is more individual rather than being influenced by gender.
In the beginning of the chapter, definitions will be given followed by past research on gender difference studies and influence of gender on learning style preferences. In this chapter we will also discuss the mismatch learning style and diversity in preference of learning style. Besides that, the biological difference between male and female will also be discussed in this chapter
2.2 Definition of learning style.
Learning is "acquiring or getting knowledge of a subject or a skill by study, experience, or instruction (Brown, 2007).
Learning style is defined as the cognitive, affective and psychological traits that are relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with and respond to the learning environment (Brown, 2007).
Learning style is also defined as the individual's distinctive and habitual manner of acquiring knowledge, skills or attitudes through study or experience (Jeffrey, 2009).
Gardner (1995), on the other hand, defines learning style as the manner which the students learn most effectively and efficiently in perceiving, processing and recalling what they have and are attempting to learn (Slater, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007).
Keefe(1987) defines learning style as the composite characteristic cognitive, affective and psychological characters that serve as relatively stable indicators of how learner perceives, interacts with and respond to the learning environment (Kumar, Voralu, Pani, & Sethuraman, 2009).
Bruner(1967) and Piaget(1990), similarly mention that human assimilate knowledge about their environment through four sensory modalities: Visual (observing pictures, symbols or diagrams), Audio (listening, discussion, instruction), Read (reading and writing visuals or icons) and finally Kinaesthetic (using tactile ability such as smell or touch, hands on task) (Kumar, Voralu, Pani, & Sethuraman, 2009).
Learning style are mostly related to educational context whereby affective and psychogical factors interrelate and intermingle. Learning style is said to the middle point of emotion and cognition, learning style of any individual is determined by the way they use their internalization process. Brown (2007) states that some claim that styles are stable trait in adults and that people show different styles for different situation, differing situation will invoke different style in the same particular individual (Brown, 2007).
Learning style has been defined in many ways by many researchers; nonetheless as a whole all the definition have the same underlying meaning. Learning is about acquiring, assimilating, getting or obtaining knowledge and style is about the individual attitude, skill and habit in receiving the knowledge and retaining it.
2.3 Studies on gender differences
Francis Galton (1907) was the first whom mention the difference between males and females. Galton says that women tend to be more inferior compared to men in all capacities (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007). Shields (1995) found that men have higher variability and are seen to be more original as compared to women who have a greater stability therefore more common sense (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
In contrast, researchers like Shields (1995) Rossiter (1992) and Dijkstra (2006) showed assumption of female inferior intellectual but some other scientific investigations conducted showed that females and males are equally intellectually superior (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
Nevertheless, in terms of computer skills males were superior that females. Gorlitz and Medina (2000) argued that the difference is not due to their gender but not to the fact that boys were the first to experience using computers and played software-based games designed for boys thus resulting in negative stereotype among girls (Wing & Hou, 2010). Reinen and Plomp (1997) noted that boys are more computer savvy because of the fact that they had access to computer more that girls (Wing & Hou, 2010).
In contrast Goritz and Medina (2000) said that boys are more drawn to computer skills because they had preference for action filled games with stimulation and sports related as well, which can be found in software games compared to girls whom prefer games that are more towards creating rather than destroying (Wing & Hou, 2010).
2.4 Gender and learning styles
According to Honigsfield (2001) gender is among a number of factors that has been found to influence students learning style (Slater, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007).
Furthermore, there is a lot of information and literature available on gender differences in learning style .The study on males and female preference on learning style is one unique area to study (Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007). Moreover, males are reported to have a preference for rational evaluation and logical outcomes compared to females are more elaborative in their processing in which they look out for personal relevance or individual contact with the material that they are being taught to (Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007).
In addition, males are more achievement orientated whereas female are more socially and performance orientated (Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007). Besides learning style, males and female also differ in beliefs about what to study and what not to. Males are more likely to attribute their success to external causes, for example teaching (Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007). In comparison female generally see their success directly connected to their efforts in the classroom. Generally, males tend to be more focused on the external factors but female on the other hand tend to be more introspective and self-critical (Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007).
Gender is seen as a significant variable in determining the type of strategies use males and females. Some researcher found that males and females are similar whereas some researchers found male and females to be poles apart.
Maubach and Morgan ( 2001) reported that French and German male students prefer to take risk and are spontaneous whereas the female students prefers to use organizational strategies in written work. (Brown, 2007).
In terms learning style Millgram (2009) stated that there is a growing possibility that the learning style in terms of gender is socially created in the field of Science, Maths, Engineering and Technology (Wing & Hou, 2010). Study by Hyde 2005 reached a conclusion that males and females are similar and the observed differences between them are not innate. The difference is mainly due to nurture instead of nature (Wing & Hou, 2010).
Nevertheless, a study conducted by Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo(2007) on undergraduate physiology undergraduates using the VARK (Visual Audio Reading and Kinaesthetic) questionnaire showed that most of the males are inclined towards multimodal instruction which comprises of all 4 modes whereas the female undergraduates prefer the single mode instruction particularly the Kinaesthetic mode (Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007).
Furthermore, a study by Honigsfeld and Dunn (2003) found that females are more drawn to the feeling dimension which proven by using the Dunn and Dunn's Inventory Learning style inventory. The finding showed that girls are more inclined towards the need for higher self motivation, responsibility, need for parental motivation and educators motivation and persistence (Wing & Hou, 2010).
Similarly by using Canfield's learning style inventory Keri (2002) found that males showed a liking for applied learning style, which they can use in daily life whereas in contrast females are more likely to be abstract minded as the opted for extensive reading assignment, organized learning materials(Wing & Hou, 2010). This study showed that there is a clear gender difference in learning styles regardless of instrument used.
Likewise when it comes to students learning style preference in foreign language Grebb (1999), Ebel (1999), Dunn (1992) mention that males tend to be more kinaesthetic, tactual and visual and prefers to be mobile in a more informal surrounding and nonconforming compared to females according to Marcus (1999), Pizzo (2000) tend to be more auditory, needs a silent atmosphere while learning and are more conforming compared to males (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
In addition, Thompson (1995) said that that the fundamental difference between males and females are the way the converse. She believes males learning focuses more on competition, status and independence. In contrast she feels females are focuses more on details of intimacy, consensus and occasionally independence (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007). Dorval (2000) says that males and females on also different in terms of social preference, whereby males prefer completing their task with competition within their hierarchical group. In contrast Dorval (2000) said that female students learn by collaboration in small group and rely in mutual liking between peers(Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
Dorval (2000), Tannen (19920 also stated that males and females are different in the way the deal with problem solving. These researchers found that when it comes to problem solving females tend to produce big block of talk compared to males whom generate masses of short spurts of speech. Nevertheless, they also found that male students prefer to get task that allows them to talk in public setting while female prefer to talk in a more private setting, for them conversation is important to maintain relationships (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
Colley (2001), Ong (1999) found that females do better with language task that requires perceptual speed. Females prefers task that has to do with remembering faces, names, object and location because they have good episodic memory. In contrast males prefer general information task and they do better in travel direction tasks (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
Correspondingly, Bress (2000), Rosen (2005) states that females tend to listen, they prefer to confront problems and reinforce on others whereas males are non-co frontal, they tend to dismiss the problem or change the topic at hand. Their approach towards language is nothing like each other, in terms of reading task (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
In addition, Coluccia and Iosue (2004) proposed that the differences that emerge among male and female are due to the cognitive demands of spatial-type task. Gender differences emerge only when participants are required to do task that is high on visuo-spatial working memory (VSWM) (Piccardi, 2011).
Nevertheless, other literature on gender difference showed that men outperformed women in learning routes on map and recreating them from different orientations but Piccardi (2008) found that gender differences becomes non-existent in performing visuo-spatial task if the participants were given enough time to learn the pathway and to navigate as long as they want, to identify the route (Piccardi, 2011).
2.5 Biological differences
Biological males and females are different without doubt, however does play a role in influencing learning style preference among males and females.
For starters, males and females get different amount of prenatal hormones, which may lead to the difference in males and females in terms of brain development. Prenatal hormones contribute to the development of human brain and sensitise certain parts of the brain, specifically the hypothalamus. Luria (1975), Sperry (1989) says that prenatal hormones do play an important role in shaping cognitive abilities (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
Other researchers like Springer and Deutsch (1997), Rogers (2000) and Fausto-Sterling (2000) looked for gender-difference by studying the overall size of the brain. Some of them concentrated on only specific parts of the brain. The most popular focus in on the corpus callosum. Corpus callosum links the left and right hemisphere that controls speech and spatial perception. Their research shows that a portion of nerve fibre towards the splenium (back of the brain) is larger and rounder in females' brain compared to males Therefore females with larger splenium are in advantage in terms of speech production and comprehension (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007).
Nonetheless Allen and Gorski (1990), Halpen (1992), Wood (2003) states that males' brain organisation gives them advantages in visual-spatial related task. Besides that, Rider (2005) and Fausto-Sterling (2000) suggest that both hemispheres of females are active during certain task while only one hemisphere of male is active during some task. This is because thick fibres in females' brain allow them to interact between hemispheres. This explains why males are inclined and excel in visuo-spatial activities and female in verbal activities (Tatarinceva & Blumenau, 2007)
However, Isman & Gundogan (2009) stated that their study of gender difference in learning preference showed that biological features were prominent not on their competence but the way the handle the task given. Isman & Gundogan ( 2009) found that the participants did the task differently but there were not incapable of doing the task. The only major difference is in terms of type action not their capability (Isman & Gundogan, 2009).
According to Sax (2005) gender difference in learning preference does not mean females have one way of learning and males have another way of learning, but it reflects the considerable difference in the ways females and males learn (Isman & Gundogan, 2009).
2.6 Learning style mismatch and diversity
The difference in individual according to Jeffrey (2009) should be dealt differently to maximise learning for students. Some writers have discovered that providing teaching that matches the student's preference; produce a better learning environment which is also known as 'matching hypothesis'. 'Matching hypothesis' is obtained whereby learning characteristics is identified and measured and is matched with a treatment; learning activity or teaching mode to accommodate the students preferences (Jeffrey, 2009). However, Felder (1993) says that mismatching style on purpose will reduce students' weakness whereby it will enable them to learn in other various styles (Jeffrey, 2009).
Furthermore, with the tertiary education being on a larger scale will produce diversity of students as compared to secondary and primary education which more confined. With tertiary level being more open access to all walks of life, diversity is bound to take place. The diversity of student has become more transparent as new group of students find their way to higher education (Jeffrey, 2009). Therefore, the vast diversity of students will result in new perspectives and an increase towards the demand of tertiary institutions to change their instruction style.
This study aims to investigate the learning style preference among the students in Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. This study is conducted to study how gender can affect the learning style preference of undergraduates. Purpose of this research is to test the hypothesis whether male and female have differing style preferences. This study is carried out to find answers for the following research objectives:
To find out the impact of gender on the learning style preference of UTAR undergraduates
To compare and contrast between male and female learning style preference
To investigate reason for difference of learning style preference among male and female undergraduates
The questionnaire has 14-item which is self-report, multiple choice questionnaires that can be completed in 10-15minutes. Students are given situation and they have to pick what they are most likely to do. Visual Audio Read/Write Kinaesthetic inventory tool is used. There are 4 options Option A, B, C, D like that of the multiple choice question. Option A is Visual mode, Option B is Audio mode, Option C is Read/Write mode and Option D is kinaesthetic mode. Students are allowed to pick 2 options if a single option is does not match their preference
3.3 Population and Sampling
The participants were chosen randomly by stratified sampling. Participants in this study consist of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman undergraduates from three different faculties. Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Faculty of Business and Finance and Faculty of Science. 10 students consisting of 5 male and 5 females were chosen from each faculty. From Faculty of Arts and Social Science the sample are Year 3 Bachelor of Arts (Hons) English Language students. From Faculty of Business and Finance the sample are Year 3 Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) Accounting students. From Faculty of Science the sample are Year 2 Bachelor of Science (Hons) students. Basically a total of 30 undergraduates comprising of 15 females and 15 males will be given the questionnaire to complete.
3.4 Research Procedure and Data collection
The VARK questionnaire was administered to Year 2 and Year 3 undergraduates of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. Each session starts with a brief explanation on the objective of the survey. Moreover participants were encouraged to pick 2 options if they feel they are inclined to do both option when dealing with the given situation. All the students completed the survey were asked to only disclose their gender and course of study to protect the privacy of the students' identity.
The multimode preference will compared to the single mode preference, to determine whether participant prefer to use single mode modality multi mode modality.
3.5 Validity & Reliability
For better understanding of students learning style first we need to know the type sensory modality preferred. This is because one of the many characteristics that make up a students learning style is the sensory modal preferred when taking in new information, tackling with problem and situations (Slater, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007).
The VARK learning styles inventory that was developed by Fleming (2005) measures four perceptual preferences: visual (V), aural (A), read/write (R), and kinaesthetic (K). Moreover VARK questions can be viewed as questionnaire because participants can select from multiple options within a question (Leite, Svinicki, & Shi, 2010).Therefore The VARK questionnaire developed by Neil Fleming will be adapted in the survey to create a questionnaire that will be able to detect which mode the participant prefers. The VARK questionnaire adapted is semi structured survey, accommodating both the qualitative and quantitative aspect of the research.
4.1 Structure of Questionnaire
The questionnaire administered is adapted from VARK questionnaire developed by Fleming. The questionnaire is a simple survey consisting of 14 multiple choice questions. Each question has 4 options ABCD which is drawn from real-life examples and situation. Participants were allowed to chose 2 options if one option does not match their preference. The options are arranged accordingly to 4 sensory modality which are Visual (V), Audio (A), Read/write(R), and Kinaesthetic (K).
Each option is designed to match all 4 sensory modalities. All option A are examples that relate to the vision sensory, all option B are examples that focuses auditory sensory, All the C options are example of the read/write modality and all the D options are example of the kinaesthetic modality.
4.2 Data Analysis
Data is analysed by looking at the numerical dominance of one mode over others. There are two types of preference single sensory modality which is Visual(V), Audio(A), Read/Write(R) and Kinaesthetic(K) and multi sensory modality which is Visual-Audio(VA),Visual-Read/Write(VR),Visual-Kinaesthetic(VK),Audio-Read/Write(AR),Audio-Kinaesthetic(AK),Read/Write-Kinaesthetic(RK).
The data collected will the number of times (frequency) of the modality either single or multi mode was chosen. The maximum times a modality can be chosen is Nx. Percentage will be obtained by dividing the Frequency with Total sum of frequency ( Nx is the maximum time one modality can be chosen which is 210 times. is the number of times the modality is chosen.
4.2.1 Section A
In this section we will discuss the preference of male students in terms of frequency level to investigate which mode is preferred the most.
TABLE 4.0 shows the frequency for the type of sensory modality preferred by Male students. The table has Single sensory modality which is Read/Write(R) and Kinaesthetic(K) and Multi sensory modality which is Visual-Audio(VA),Visual-Read/Write(VR),Visual-Kinaesthetic(VK),Audio-Read/Write(AR),Audio-Kinaesthetic(AK),Read/Write-Kinaesthetic(RK).
TOTAL FREQUENCY (Nf)
Table 4.0 Frequency of Male Learning Style Preference
For the single mode category, Visual (V) modality was selected 35 times, Audio (A) modality was selected 48 times, Read/Write(R) modality was selected 30 times and Kinaesthetic (K) was selected 74 times. In the single mode, sensory modality (K) is the most dominant choice of the male students.
As for the multi mode category Visual-Audio(VA) was selected only 2 times, Visual-Read/Write(VR) was selected 1 time, Visual-Kinaesthetic(VK) was selected 4 times, Audio-Read/Write(AR) was chosen 2 times, Audio-Kinaesthetic(AK) was chosen 10 times, Read/Write-Kinaesthetic(RK) was selected 4 times. In multi mode category A Audio-Kinaesthetic (AK) modality was the most dominant multi sensory modality of choice.
Pie chart 4.0 shows the comparison between single mode and multi mode. Single mode dominated the chart with 89% preference compared to the multi mode which barely gained 11% preference among the male students
Pie Chart 4.0Multi Mode vs. Single Mode preference of male student
4.2.2 Section B
In this section we will discuss the preference of female students in terms of frequency level to investigate which mode is preferred the most.
TABLE 4.1 shows the frequency for the type of sensory modality preferred by female students. The table has Single sensory modality which is Read/Write(R) and Kinaesthetic(K) and Multi sensory modality which is Visual-Audio(VA),Visual-Read/Write(VR),Visual-Kinaesthetic(VK),Audio-Read/Write(AR),Audio-Kinaesthetic(AK),Read/Write-Kinaesthetic(RK).
Table 4.1Frequency of Female Learning Style Preference
For the single mode category, Visual (V) modality was selected 38 times, Audio (A) modality was selected 45 times, Read/Write(R) modality was selected 33 times and Kinaesthetic (K) was selected 46 times. In the single mode, sensory modality (K) and sensory modality (A) were the dominant choice among female students
As for the multi mode category Visual-Audio(VA) was selected only 10 times, Visual-Read/Write(VR) was selected 7 time, Visual-Kinaesthetic(VK) was selected 8 times, Audio-Read/Write(AR) was chosen 9 times, Audio-Kinaesthetic(AK) was chosen 9 times, Read/Write-Kinaesthetic(RK) was selected 5 times. In multi mode, modality Visual-Audio (VA), Audio-Read/Write (AR), Audio-Kinaesthetic (AK) were the dominant choice among female students
Pie chart 4.1 shows the comparison between single mode and multi mode. Single mode dominated the chart with 77% preference compared to the multi mode which barely gained 23% preference among the female students
Pie Chart 4.1 Multi Mode vs. Single Mode preference of female students
4.2.3 Section C
In this section we will compare and contrast the mode preference of males and female students. In this section we will identify the difference between male and female students
Pie Chart 4.2 and Pie Chart 4.3 shows the percentage of preference for each modality in detail.
Pie Chart 4.2 Learning Preferences of Male Students
Pie Chart 4.3 Learning Preferences of Female Students
For the single mode modality, male students showed 16.67% preference to V modality whereas females student an 18.09% preference. The female students preferred V modality 1.42 % more than boys.
As for the A modality the male students showed 22.85% preference which is 1.43% more than female students who preferred A modality.
For the R modality, the males showed a preference of 14.28% while the females prefers it 1.43% more, which is 15.71%.
The K modality showed a more significant 13.29 % difference between males and females, whereby the male students showed a more high preference of 35.23% compared to females who showed a 21.94% for the K modality.
Overall the students showed the highest preference for the K Modality and lowest preference for the R modality
For the multi mode modality, the male students showed a total of 10.95% preference compared to the female students who showed a 22.85% preference towards multi mode modality.
For the multi mode, male students showed highest preference of 4.76% to AK modality and lowest preference of 0.47% to VR modality.
Similarly, female's students showed highest preference of 4.76% to the VA modality and lowest preference of 2.38% toward the RK modality.
Overall, the students showed highest preference for AK modality and lowest preference for the VR modality
Generally all students showed 80.7% preference to single mode modality while only 19.28% preference toward the multi mode modality.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
The purpose of this study was to find out gender differences in learning style preference. UTAR undergraduates were chosen to be the sample population for the research. In this study we administered a questionnaire adapted from Fleming, to determine which modality is the most preferred and which modality is less preferred.
Cassidy & Each us, 2000 says an individual ability to make sense of incoming information better if it is received in the individual's preferred modality (Jeffrey, 2009)
Before we further analyse, we need to know the characteristics of each modality. Learners with preference for visual modality conceptualise ideas better by decoding information that is visual based, for example charts, diagrams and pictures. Learners that have high preference for auditory modality comprehend better when they hear the information or explanation. Kinaesthetic learners perform better when they can be tactile or mobile. Read/write modality is preferred by students who learn better with text rather than images.
On the whole there were 10 modalities for the participants to choose from. 4 were single mode modality and 6 were multi mode modality.
5.1.1 Single Mode Modality
Visual modality was preferred more by the female students compared to male students; nevertheless the difference is just 1.42% so basically both genders have almost equal preference for the visual modality. Both gender show 16%-18% preference of learning through images, diagrams and charts. As for the Auditory modality males showed more preference compared to the female students with a difference of 1.62%. Both gender show preference for learning through spoken words, they showed 21%-23% liking for learning through lecture or instruction via spoken words.
For Read/Write modality, females showed a slightly higher preference of 1.43% for it compared to the male students, even so the males preferred read/write modality too but not as much as the females. Both gender showed 14%-15% preference of learning through reading text through written words
However with the Kinaesthetic males and females showed a big difference. The males preferred the kinaesthetic mode 14% more than females. This shows that males are more mobile and tactile compared to females. Nevertheless, females showed preference to the kinaesthetic as well but males are more in favour of learning through touch and movement. Both genders showed 21%-35% preference for learning through tactile and mobility.
5.1.2. Multi-Mode Modality
As for the multi mode modality, in this research multi mode modality was only limited to bi-modal only due to the limited number of participants. Multi mode modality has 6 modalities which are VA VR VK AR AK RK. Overall the female participants showed more preference for multi mode learning compared to the male participants. 22.85% preference was given to multi mode modality learning compared to male participants who only gave 10.95% preference to multi mode learning.
From all the 6 modalities, the males participants showed most interest for the AK mode, this shows that the male participant prefer the combination of auditory-kinaesthetic, basically the like to be able to manipulate thing whilst listening to instructions or lecture, the male participant least preferred the Visual-Read/write mode, this shows that they dislike to learning through images and text.
The female participant on the other hand, showed high preference for VA and least preference for RK. When it comes to multimode learning female participant learn better through images and spoken words and learn least when it requires them to read/write whilst being tactile.
Nonetheless, for the males the difference between each modality is wide which is 0.47%-4.76% compared to females who preferred each modality almost the same amount which is in between 2.38%-4.76%. Basically female students have a more balance preference for multi mode modality. Overall, females showed more preference for multi mode modality compared to male participants.
Through this research we found out that female participants are more diverse in their selection of modality. In total their multi mode preference is 22.85% which is almost the same with single modality preference which range from 15.71-21.94%. All the modalities are given a more balance preference with difference of few percentages. On the other hand Male participants are less balance with their single modality preference which ranges from 14.28%-35.23%.They showed a strong preference for Kinaesthetic modality. As for the multi mode preference, the males only showed 10.95%. There is a wide gap between single mode preference and multi mode preference. This shows that males are not as diverse as the female students, they prefer single mode of learning and do not like to mix more than one modality.
Nonetheless, on a whole students showed 80.7% preference to single mode modality while only 19.28% preference. Basically both genders are more inclined toward single mode of learning. However point to be noted here is that females are more in favour of multi mode learning compared to the males.
Generally, this study suggests that female students may have a more diverse range of learning preferences than male students. Female prefer to mix and match different modalities when it comes to learning compared to males who prefer to take in information with a single modality rather than multi modality.
5.2 Reasons for study on learning style preference
Insight into particular preference of each individual would help instructors/teacher/lecturer modify presentations and method of assessment .Moreover, when instruction match the students learning style preference, students achieve higher score than mismatched (Lujan & Dicarlo, 2006).
The significance of this research is to find out whether or not male and females have different preference for learning style. Male and Female have almost the same preference for learning style even though females are more diverse and balanced compared to males who show strong preference for a selected for one modality but nevertheless did show preference to other modality as well. Even though females have more balance preference whereby they can use all sensory modes in learning however one mode emerged as dominant, which is the K modality.
Fundamentally females are open to all kinds of learning style compared to male students but both showed a stronger liking for the kinaesthetic modality.
Therefore, from this research we can deduce that learning styles of males and females are different; however the difference is not that big. Fundamentally both gender show higher preference single mode modality especially the kinaesthetic mode. The only difference is that females have a balanced preference compared to males.
We suggest that students no matter female or male are able to learn if the information provided by the teacher is a blend of all the modalities. Teacher should provide activities that have the mixture of visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinaesthetic modes in order to satisfy the preference of each and every student. Basically teaching should be multisensory and filled with different types of learning strategies. Every modality plays an important and students should be exposed to all the modalities. A combination of all this modality is very beneficial for students. Visual learners can be targeted by the presence of model and demonstration. Auditory learners are targeted through discussion, collaborative testing, debates, games and answering questions. A kinaesthetic learner learns by role playing and manipulating models. However Slater, Lujan, & Dicarlo (2007) suggest that classroom activities should comprise of all the learning style, an integrative learning that consist of the modalities which should be use effectively in classrooms. (Slater, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007)
On a larger note, students who are exposed to all kind of learning style generate a higher enthusiasm and motivation, which can be very beneficial when searching for jobs. Employment opportunities require their future employees to be all rounder, work cooperatively and solve problems and develop situations. Thus the integrative learning is a vital teaching style that will be proven to be very beneficial for the student's future as employees.
In the nut shell, instructors/teacher that use multiple styles of delivery that offers a combination of preferred and mismatch styles are more likely to meet students needs. This would benefit both male and female students.
5.3 Recommendation of study
The rationale of this study was to identify whether or gender plays a role in affecting the learning style preference of students. The findings show that male and females are the same, just that females are more balanced, nevertheless they show an overall liking for all sensory modalities.
Recommendation for future work is to focus on the teaching method rather than gender. Generally students prefer a multiple styles of learning, therefore it is important to find out whether there is a need to bring a more comprehensive and diverse style of teaching by teachers. Future research should concentrate on addressing diverse needs of students and to establish which learning and teaching style is most effective.
The survey designed did not take in count of other factors such as socioeconomic, status, race, culture and other factors. The sample were non-random sampling, therefore the population surveyed are rather homogenous thus the drawback of this study would be the lack of variety and lack of other confounding factors.
Besides that, the survey administered was anonymous; therefore it is difficult to make a definite outcome that links a particular behaviour of students' action or performance to their choice of learning style. Moreover, since there was a range of modality given to both genders, it difficult to know which students preferred which style of learning is most dominant. Nevertheless, from the survey it was notable that the K-modality was given the most preference.
Moreover, from this research we only know which modality is preferred but could provide statistics on which gender learn faster or retain information longer. The limitation is that this research could only provide information of the correlation between gender and learning style not the learning performance.
The strong point of the survey administered is that the questions and options are drawn from real-life examples and situation. The survey questions were simple and respondents could relate to each question and chose the best option that suits their preference when they access new information and which option suits the preference when dealing with different situations.
The study revealed that there is a correlation between learning style and gender. Learning style was determined by looking at which sensory modality the students prefer when receiving information, presentation or dealing with different situation. Preference for sensory modality reflects on the type of learning style the individual prefers.
By knowing this, can educate students more effectively, both in and out of classroom. If we are attentive to their preference, we can help them excel. It is important to be aware of each and everyone learning style in order to adjust study techniques to fit each and everyone's preference, so that no one is left out.
However, it is essential to note that results collected do not suggest that there is an innate difference between male and female (Wehrwein, Lujan, & Dicarlo, 2007). Nevertheless, the studies conducted do suggest that males and females have different preference when it comes to learning style however they are willing to incorporate multiple learning styles and show tendencies towards being a diverse student.
THIS SURVEY IS CONDUCTED TO FIND OUT THE IMPACT OF GENDER ON THE LEARNING STYLE PREFERENCE OF UNDERGRADUATES IN UNIVERSITI TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN.
There are 14 questions. Choose the answer which best explains your preference. If a single answer does not match your preference. Please circle 2 Options.
You are about to give directions to your friends. You have invited them to your house later in the evening but they do not know the directions. How would you give the directions?
Draw a map on a paper.
Tell them the direction (orally).
Write down the directions (without a map).
Pick them up from their house.
You are not sure whether a word should be spelled "dependant" or "dependent". You would:
See the word in my mind and choose by the way it looks.
Sound it out in my mind.
Write both versions down on a paper and choose one.
Look it up in the dictionary.
You are planning a vacation to Pulau Pangkor for a group. You want some feedback from them about the plan. You would:
Use a map or website to show them the places.
Phone, text or email them.
Give them a copy of the printed itinerary.
Describe some of the highlights.
You are going to cook something for your friend's party tonight. You would:
Look through the cookbook, looking for ideas from the pictures.
Call a friend for suggestion.
Refer to a specific cook book, where there is a good recipe.
Cook something familiar without the need for instructions.
A group secondary school student has been assigned to you to find out more about recycling. You would:
Show them slides with photographs.
Give them a talk on recycling.
Give them some pamphlets or articles on recycling.
Drive them to the nearest recycling centre.
You are about to purchase a new laptop. Other than price, what else would influence your decision?
It looks very sleek and fashionable.
The salesperson telling you what you want to know.
Reading details about it.
Testing the laptop's functionality.
You want to learn something new e.g. dance or a new board game. You learn best by:
Visual-clues-pictures, diagrams and charts.
Listening to somebody explaining it to you.
Doing it or trying it on your own.
You have a severe breathing problem. You would prefer the doctor to:
Show a diagram of what is wrong.
Explain what is wrong with you.
Gave something to read to explain what was wrong.
Use a model to show what is wrong.
You are about to learn a new program on a computer. You would:
Follow the diagrams/pictures in the book that came with it.
Telephone a friend and ask questions about it.
Read the manual that comes with the program.
Sit down and begin to experiment with the program's features.
You prefer a lecturer who likes to use:
Flow diagrams, charts and graphs.
Discussion, guest speaker.
A textbook, handout, readings.
Field trips, labs, practical sessions.
Other than price, what would convince you to buy a new novel?
The way it looks is appealing.
A friend talks about it and recommends it.
Quickly reading parts of it.
It has real-life stories, experiences and examples.
12. You are about to order for food at a new restaurant in town. You would:
Look at what others are eating or look at pictures of each dish.
Listen to the waiter or ask friends to recommend choices.
Choose from the descriptions in the menu.
Choose something that you have eaten before.
You like logging on websites that have:
Interesting design and visual features.
Audio channels where I can hear music, radio programs or interviews.
Interesting written descriptions, lists and explanations.
Things I can click on or try.
14. You have to make an important speech for your presentation. You would:
Make diagrams or get graphs to explain things.
Write a few key words and practice saying your speech repeatedly.
Write out your speech and learn from reading it over several times.
Gather many examples and stories to make the talk real and practical.