THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND
Learning varies on each and everyone. Individuals can perceive and process information in different kinds of ways, which implies that the degree to which individuals learn has as much as to do with whether the learning experience is geared to their style of learning. Some of the individuals learn and develop easily in the early stage, while others are not. For some time now educational research exploring the issue of academic achievement or success has extended beyond simple issues of intelligence and prior academic achievement. One concept in particular which has provided some valuable insights into learning both academic and other settings is learning style. There is general acceptance that the manner in which individuals choose to or are inclined to approach a learning situation has an impact on performance and achievement of learning outcomes. Several definitions of learning styles currently exist. According to Fleming and Mills (1992) in their study of learning styles Teaching and Learning Styles: VARK Strategies, they included reading and writing as a category. If a person is a visual learner, for example, he or she prefers learning by observing and enjoys demonstrations, pictures, films and videos. Auditory learners, on the other hand, prefer to listen, read aloud, and talk to themselves and learn best through the use of discussion groups. The tactile learner, a subset of the kinesthetic learner, learns by touching. A tactile learner will learn concepts best by tracing his or her fingers over symbols or patterns and by writing on surfaces with his or her fingers. Unlike the others, the kinesthetic learner learns best through physical movement. They have to do it to learn it. They will walk when studying, take notes, rewrite notes, and usually enjoy role playing. The VARK learning style inventory was initially developed by Fleming in 1987. VARK is an acronym made from the initial letters of four sensory modal preferences that are used for learning information: Visual, aural, read-write, and kinesthetic. It categorizes student learning based on the neural system that is preferred when receiving information, and can be used to guide instructors in their selection of learning and assessment strategies (Murphy, Gray & Straja, 2004). It was the first to systematically present a series of questions with help-sheets for students, teachers, and employees to use in their own ways. Fleming (1995) stated that the questionnaire could alert students and teachers to different approaches to learning. It also supports students who have been having difficulties with their studies and teachers who would like to develop additional learning strategies for their classrooms. The inventory is widely used in educational institutions around the world and has received high acclaim from students and professors for its powerful application in learning (Fleming & Mills, 1992). It is advisory rather than diagnostic and predictive. Previously known as VAK, this classification system was expanded by Fleming to VARK to further differentiate the visual category into two categories, which are those who prefer graphical or pictorial representations of their incoming information (V) and those who prefer textual representations [reading-writing (R)] (Fleming, 1995). Thus, the VARK learning style inventory has the following elements (Fleming, 2002a) VARK is not only an inventory to determine learners’ preferences but to help learners and instructors select the best fitting learning strategies in the learning process and evaluation as well. VARK preferences can be used to help learners develop additional and effective study skills to take in information, study information for maximum learning, and study for performing well on examination. This study explores how different learning styles influence students’ academic achievement. Understanding the learning...
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