A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE LEARNING STYLES OF ADOLESCENTS FROM DIVERSE NATIONS BY AGE, GENDER, ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT LEVEL, AND NATIONALITY
Andrea Honigsfeld, Ed.D. Molloy
Abstract: Previous research conducted in the United States and selected countries revealed that students learning-style preferences were significantly discriminated by age, achievement, gender, and cultural differences. This research further investigated the learning-style characteristics of 1,637 adolescents from five countriesBermuda, Brunei, Hungary, Sweden, and New Zealand. It analyzed their similarities and differences by age, gender, academic achievement, and nationality and it also explored the interactive relationships among these four factors and adolescents learning-style preferences. The English or appropriate foreign language (Hungarian, Malay, and Swedish) versions of the Learning Style Inventory (LSI) (Dunn, Dunn, & Price, 1996) for Grades 5-12 were used. For descriptive statistics, means and standard deviations were calculated. For inferential statistics, univariate analyses of variance (ANOVAs), t tests, a multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA), and Scheffe post-hoc tests were applied. A discriminant analysis also was conducted for one subset of the data. The alpha level was established at the p< .05 level.
Findings revealed that: (a) 16 of 22 learning-style elements (light, persistence, design, responsibility, structure, learning alone versus with peers, authority-figure oriented, learning in several ways, auditory, visual, and tactual perceptual strengths, intake, late morning, afternoon, and being parent- and teacher-motivated) significantly discriminated among 13-, 15-, and 17-year-old students; (b) 8 elements (motivation, persistence, responsibility, learning alone versus with peers, learning in several ways, kinesthetic perceptual strengths, and being parent- and/or teacher-motivated) differentiated between males and females; (c) 15 of the 22 learning-style elements (light, temperature, self-motivation, persistence, responsibility, learning alone versus with peers, authority-figure oriented, learning in several ways, visual and tactual perceptual strengths, evening versus morning, late morning, afternoon, and being parent- and teacher-motivated) significantly discriminated among the gifted, high-/average- and low-achieving students; (d) 21 learning-style variables (all except the auditory perceptual preference) significantly distinguished among the student populations in the five participating countries; and (e) five significant interactions were found for overall learning-style preferences when country was one of the interactive factors: age-by-country, gender-by-country, achievement-by-country, age-by-gender-by-country, and age-by-achievement-by-country. These findings corroborated and supplemented previous research by Dunn, Milgram and Price (1993), Ingham, Ponce Meza, & Price (1998), Lo (1984), and Pengiran-Jadid (1998).
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