Students’ Perceptions of Context and Kolb’s Learning Styles

By Patrícia Almeida and José Joaquim Teixeira-Dias.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The purpose of this study is to investigate how the teaching, learning and assessment strategies conceived and implemented in a higher education chemistry course aiming to promote deep learning were perceived by students. Thus, our main aim is to analyse the learning styles of chemistry undergraduates with the highest and the lowest grades. This research was carried out in a naturalistic setting, within the context of chemistry classes for 1st year science and engineering courses, at the University of Aveiro, in Portugal. At the end of the school year, the 10 chemistry students with the highest grades and the 10 chemistry students with the lowest grades were selected for interview. Data was also collected through Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory, through non-participant observation and through the analysis of students’ assessments. The overall results show that the students with better grades possess the assimilator learning style, that is usually associated to the archetypal chemist. On the other hand, the students with the lowest grades did not a show a preference for a specific learning style. This chemistry course was intentionally designed to promote deep learning and understanding. However, students perceived the purposes and the context of this course in different ways. As a result of these distinct perceptions of the learning environment, students adopted diverse approaches and, consequently, obtained different final grades.

Keywords: Higher Education, University, Learning Styles, Kolb, Context, Teaching, Learning, Assessment, Strategies, Chemistry, Science Education

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.43-56. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 929.440KB).

Dr. Patrícia Almeida

Researcher, Research Centre for Didactics and Technology in Teacher Education, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal


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