Comparison, Validation And Implications Of Learning Style Theories In Higher Education In Slovenia: An Experiential And Theoretical Case

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Sandra Penger
Metka Tekavcic
Vlado Dimovski

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Abstract

The learning styles literature is having a revival during last years. Researchers have pointed out that students learn effectively in a harmonic environment and by using teaching aids which match the students learning style preferences (Li et al., 2008). Although learning styles have been heavily researched (Coffield et al., 2004; Reynold & Vince, 2007; Welsh et al., 2007; Hornyak et al., 2007; Herbert & Stenfors, 2007; Sievers, 2007; Hyde, 2007; Kayes A.B., 2007; Kayes D. C., 2007; Garcia et al., 2007; Demirbas & Demirkan, 2007; Armstrong & Mahmud, 2008; Li et al., 2008), little is known about Slovenian students learning styles, especially in the field of management education. The aim of this study is to present, compare, validate and explore the learning styles of students enrolled in the course Economics of education at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Economics (FELU) in Slovenia. Another purpose is to better understand the different learning styles among management students in order to develop appropriate teaching and pedagogical strategies for improving management education at FELU. Additionally, the intention of this research is to develop a valid and reliable research questionnaire for further research processes and to set up research instruments as supportive mechanisms in management education and in the development curriculums and syllabuses of new courses. This study method included both a descriptive and an exploratory perspective. In the first part of the study the qualitative meta-analysis method was used to overview the literature background of the study. In the empirical part of the study the factor analysis using the Principle Axes Factoring method was used to extract learning styles. The adapted versions of Honey and Mumfords (1992) Learning Style Questionnaire (LSQ) and Dunn & Dunns (2003) VAK Learning Style Theory (Coffield et al., 2004) were used as instruments in the questionnaire to determine Slovenian students learning styles. For the educators in higher education institution, the challenge is to provide meta-cognitive support for students, enabling them to reflect not just on what they learn but also how and why.

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