Differential use of learning strategies in first-year higher education : the impact of personality, academic motivation, and teaching strategies
Faculty of Social Sciences. Instructional and Educational Sciences
British journal of educational psychology. - Birmingham
, p. 238-251
University of Antwerp
Background Although the evidence in support of the variability of students' learning strategies has expanded in recent years, less is known about the explanatory base of these individual differences in terms of the joint influences of personal and contextual characteristics. Aims Previous studies have often investigated how student learning is associated with either personal or contextual factors. This study takes an integrative research perspective into account and examines the joint effects of personality, academic motivation, and teaching strategies on students' learning strategies in a same educational context in first-year higher education. Sample In this study, 1,126 undergraduate students and 90 lecturers from eight professional bachelor programmes in a university college participated. Methods Self-report measures were used to measure students' personality, academic motivation, and learning strategies. Students' processing and regulation strategies are mapped using the Inventory of Learning Styles. Key characteristics of more content-focused versus learning-focused teaching strategies were measured. Multivariate multi-level analysis was used to take the nested data structure and interrelatedness of learning strategies into account. Results Different personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism) and academic motivation (amotivation, autonomous, and controlled motivation) were found to be independently associated with student learning strategies. Besides these student characteristics, also teaching strategies were found to be directly associated with learning strategies. Conclusions The study makes clear that the impact of teaching strategies on learning strategies in first-year higher education cannot be overlooked nor overinterpreted, due to the importance of students' personality and academic motivation which also partly explain why students learn the way they do.