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Kolb’s Learning Styles and Approaches to Learning: The Case of Chemistry Undergraduates with Better Grades

Kolb’s Learning Styles and Approaches to Learning: The Case of Chemistry Undergraduates with Better Grades
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Author(s): Patrícia Albergaria-Almeida (University of Aveiro, Portugal), José Joaquim Teixeira-Dias (University of Aveiro, Portugal), Mariana Martinho (Escola EB 2,3/S de Oliveira de Frades, Portugal) and Chinthaka Balasooriya (University of New South Wales, Australia)
Copyright: 2010
Volume: 1
Issue: 3
Pages: 16
Source title: International Journal of Knowledge Society Research (IJKSR)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Miltiadis D. Lytras (Effat University, Saudi Arabia) and Linda Daniela (University of Latvia, Latvia)
DOI: 10.4018/jksr.2010070101

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate if the teaching, learning and assessment strategies conceived and implemented in a higher education chemistry course promote the development of conceptual understanding, as intended. Thus, our aim is to analyse the learning styles and the approaches to learning of chemistry undergraduates with better grades.This study took place during the 1st semester of the school year 2009/2010. 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. The class was composed of 100 students. At the end of the semester, the 8 chemistry students with the highest grades were selected for interview. Data was collected through Kolb’s Learning Styles Inventory, through Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students, through non-participant observation, through the analysis of students’ participation in online forums and lab books.The overall results show that the students with better grades possess the assimilator learning style, that is usually associated to the archetypal chemist. Moreover, the students with the highest grades revealed a conception of learning emphasising understanding. However, these students diverged both in their learning approaches and in their preferences for teaching strategies. The majority of students adopted a deep approach or a combination of a deep and a strategic approach, but half of them revealed their preference for teaching-centred strategies.

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