The Effect of Course Selection and Course Experience on Students’ Learning Style Preference

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The Effect of Course Selection and Course Experience on
Students’ Learning Style Preference
Jamaliah Said
Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia
Erlane K Ghani
Corresponding Author Faculty of Accountancy/ Accounting Research Institute Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia
Tel: +60162099151
Using questionnaire survey on accounting and engineering undergraduate students, this study examines whether course selection and course experience could influence their learning style preference. Four types of learning style identified in Kolb’s model: converger, diverger, assimilator, accommodator were examined. The results show that courses enrolled by students could influence their learning style, particularly, the accommodator students. The results also show that the length of experience in a course influence students’ learning style and the influence is significant on the converger students. The key findings in this study is the realisation that course selection and course experience may play an important role in influencing students’ learning style. Therefore, it could be implied that learning style could be cultivated and not inborn. The finding of this study provides some hindsight to academics and universities on the importance of understanding students’ learning style preference in enhancing their performance. Keywords: Learning style, LSI, course selection, course experience, undergraduate students.

1. Introduction
It is well acknowledged that education environment is an important element in determining students’ ability to reach to their fullest quality (Rutter et al., 1979; Bealing Jr et al., 2006). Within the education environment, the establishment and identifying students’ learning style has often been recognised in the education system. The importance of learning style could help academics to understand students’ preference of learning that could assist in selecting appropriate instructional methods and educational options (Fox, 1984). If students’ learning style is known, academics could anticipate their students’ preferences, take advantage of their strengths and avoid their weaknesses (Birkey and Rodman, 1995; Hartman, 1995).

Studies within the education literature have focused on examining and understanding learning style preference (such as Honey and Mumford, 1992; Jackson and Lawty-Jones, 1996; Hong, 2006; Mulalic et al., 2009). One particular issue within the learning style preference that has been examined is the factors that influence learning style preference. These studies examined various factors such as personality (Jackson and Lawty-Jones, 1996), culture (Auyeung and Sands, 1996; Jaju et al., 2002), course context (Stout and Rubble, 1991) and demographic profile (Slater et al., 2007; Wehrwein et al., 2007) among others. These issues were examined using various theories and models such as MyersEuropean Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 10, Number 1 (2009)

Briggs (Myers-Briggs, 1962), Felder-Silverman (Felder, 1996), Dunn and Dunn (Dunn and Dunn, 1978) and Herrmann Brain Dominance (Herrmann, 1999). One theory that has received great attention is Kolb’s model.

Kolb's model is particularly well-designed since it offers both a way to understand individual’s different learning styles and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential learning that applies to all individuals (Healey and Jenkins, 2000). Kolb’s model of experiential learning model explains that different individual naturally prefer a certain single different learning style (Kolb, 1984). Within this model, the learning style inventory (LSI) was introduced (Kolb, 1984). Kolb developed LSI to measure learning style preferences. Studies in the accounting education literature have used Kolb’s model to examine various factors that could influence students’ preferred learning style. These studies have mainly focused on one of Kolb’s model, the experiential learning model (ELM) (such as Brown and Burke,...
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