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Preferred Learning Style and Academic Self-Efficacy as Predictors of Academic Engagement amongst University Students

Bowes, J (2018) Preferred Learning Style and Academic Self-Efficacy as Predictors of Academic Engagement amongst University Students. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Academic engagement (AE) is a large predictor of academic success at university level (Green et al., 2012; Eryilmaz, 2015). AE of a student can be improved by contextual factors, alongside personal attributes (Skinner and Pitzer, 2012), such as academic self-efficacy (ASE). Previous literature has shown academic self-efficacy to be a large predictor of AE and educational success (Chemers et al., 2001; Green et al., 2012; Eryilmaz, 2015; Ansong et al., 2016); therefore allocating resources to improve students’ AE could be considered worthwhile.Students preferred learning styles are considered important by both educators and students (Knoll et al., 2016), with educators being urged to alter teaching methods to accommodate students learning styles (Pashler et al., 2009). Evidence largely shows that students learning styles, when catered to, do not cause better learning or performance (Loo, 2004; Pashler et al., 2009; Rieder and Willingham, 2010; Knoll et al., 2016); therefore it can be considered that allocating resources to accommodating students preferred learning style is wasteful (Paschler et al., 2008; Lewis, 2013). However, students may engage more if their preferred learning style is congruent with standard university teaching methods.This study, consisting of 157 participants, seeks to explore whether, and the extent to which, ASE and preferred learning style congruence with university teaching methods can predict AE, as to better inform decision on resource allocation. A multiple regression analysis found both preferred learning style and ASE significantly predicted AE, although ASE more so. A two-way ANOVA showed that both ASE and preferred learning style had a significant main effect on AE score, of a large and medium effect size respectively. Further research should be conducted to determine whether this link with preferred learning style and ASE is as it seems, or if it is due to other factors, or possibly students having a higher ASE due to feeling as though they will achieve as their preferred learning style is congruent with university teaching methods

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