INFLUENCE OF LEARNING STYLE ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN BIOLOGY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background to the Study
Learning is defined as modification of behaviour through experience. It is also defined as the acquisition of a desirable behavioural pattern. In other words, learning is the modification and co-ordination of the response of organisms. Thus, learning is essentially an active process and not a passive observation of knowledge, it is not the mere reading of books or listening to learners is an enrichment of experiences.
Learning occupies an important place in the school, without learning all efforts of students as well as teachers are bound to become purposeless. Learning essentially consists of modification of reactions due to experience or practice (Ommen, 2015).
Sitt-Gohdes (2013) also holds that most teachers teach the way they were taught. This might have caused the frustration of a good number of learners as the witness that their performances are not accounted for by many teachers.
The case is more serious in a context where students come from divers’ educational experiences and with different cultural backgrounds. Compared to the extensive work done on methods and instructional activities, one vital area often neglected is the exploitation of learning styles in the classroom.
Standard academic performance can be because of standard learning ability. Researchers have pointed out that learning ability or techniques among students contribute positively or negatively to their level of academic performance.
Students do not learn in the same way and number of different learning styles in science exist (Entitles, 2011, Honey and Mu-Aford, 2012). The Various styles that learners adapt to learning include visual learning styles in Science, auditory learning styles and kinesthetic or textile learning style and student’s personal performance in science subject. These have contributed immensely on the academic performance in science subject. These style have contributed immensely on the academic performance of students can contributes either positively or negatively to their academic performance.
It is known that learning processes vary from person to perso, and according to Keefe and Ferrell (2013) learning problems are frequently not related to the difficulty of the subject matter but rather to the type and level of the cognitive process required to learn the materials. It is believe that when teachers are able to analysis the different needs of their students, the educational process is likely to be optimized for both students and teachers (Fairhurst, 2015).
Researchers have also pointed out that learning ability or technique to their level of academic performance. This study therefore investigates the effects of learning styles on academic performance of students in science in secondary schools.
INFLUENCE OF LEARNING STYLE ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN BIOLOGY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.2 Statement of the Problems
It has been noted that students have different learning style and they are being treated equally as they find their study less interesting. Poor reading, listening, and writing abilities are recognized among learning of science in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area.
As result of these, mass failure in learning science are being noticed as the students performance of learning science in secondary school get worst every year. Academic performance of students in (WASSE) and National Examination Council (NECO) in Nigeria is disturbing.
Performance of candidates in five (5) popular science subjects in West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination including 2012, 2013, and 2014 has revealed 55.19%, 59.10% and 60.99% percentage failure respectively in Biology.
Ibe (2016) blamed poor performance of Biology students in external examination on Biology teachers’ insensitivity to the nature of Biology when planning instructional activities in the classroom.
According to her, Biology is not one of the subjects that can master by mere memorization of the basic rules. It requires total determination, sound theoretical knowledge and intensive practice in application.
One begins to wonder is that, if others factors could be responsible for the large number of failures in Biology other than ones already identified. It is against this background that the researcher sought to examine learning style and academic performance of students in Biology in secondary schools.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of learning style on academic performance of students in Biology in secondary schools. Specifically, this study sought;
(1) To examine whether visual learning style influence students’ academic performance in Biology in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area.
(2.) To ascertain whether auditory learning style influence students’ academic performance in Biology in Nsit Ubium.
(3.) To investigate how kinesthetic learning style influence students’ academic performance in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area.
1.4 Significant of the Study
- This work will serve as a guide to school administrators and teacher when planning and preparing their lessons as to incorporate activities related to each of the learning styles.
- This study will expose teachers to various learning styles, which will expose teachers to various learning styles, which facilitate the adoption of suitable techniques and methods to match with the students’ inclination.
- The study will help students who are at-risk of poor academic achievement especially the low ability learners will identified and group-counseling approaches should be utilized to help them improve their learning styles.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
To guide this study the following hypotheses were formulated:
- There is no significant difference between visual learning styles and students’ academic performance in Biology.
- There is no significant difference between auditory learning style and students’ academic performance in Biology.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
This study was limited by the following factors;
- The time giving for the completion of this study is not making a research like this to have wider scope.
- Financial constraint exerted pressure on the study as the researcher scarcely had enough financial to enable him expand the scope of the study.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
This study was restricted to the learning style and learning of science subject in secondary schools in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, analysis was on senior secondary students in the study area.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Academic Performance: This is a level of skills attained by students in a giving subject usually designed by a test score or grade obtained by students during the process of assessment.
Learning style: This refers to an individual’s natural or habitual pattern of learning or acquiring knowledge.
Auditory Learning Style: This is a learning style in which ideas, concepts, data and other information can seen and touched through images, chart or graphics.
Kinesthetic Learning Style: This refers to learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out a physical activity rather than listening to a lecturer or watching a demonstration.
Related literature to this study is considered under following sub-headings:
2.1 Concept of learning style
2.2 Visual learning style
2.2 Auditory learning style
2.3 Kinesthetic learning style
2.4 Summary of literature review
2.1 Concept of Learning Style
Learning style is individual natural or habitual pattern acquiring and processing information in learning situations. It is the ability of learners to perceive and process information in learning situation.
A students learning style preference refers to the way they responded to stimuli in a learning context and to their characteristic way of acquiring and using information. These learning styles recognize that individual learn in different ways and students in any course well place a variety of different interpretations onto their lesson (Bailey and Garratt, 2002). Kefee (2004) also viewed learning as and individuals’ preferred or habitual ways of processing and transforming knowledge.
Kolb (2002) reported that physiological attribute resulting from individual differences, determines the particular strategy person chosen while learning on other hand kefee (2004) emphasized learning styles as cognitive, affective and psychological traits that serves as relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with and respond to their learning environment.
Moreover, he holds that each individual’s concentrates on mental processes, internalization and retention of new and difficult information from their specific learning style.
He further suggested various types of learning styles in which an individual can adopt in the learning process which are;
- Visual learning style, this learning styles is one in which an individual prefers using pictures images.
- Verbal learning style, in this type of learning style, the person prefers using words, both in speech and is writing.
- Auditory learning style, this type of learning style deals with the learner preferring to use sounds and music. It could be recorded or audio players.
- Kinesthetic learning style, in this particular style, the learner prefers using the body, especially the hands in learning’ conducting experiments and manipulating objects.
- Solitary (interpersonal) learning style, this is learning where the learner prefers to learn or work above and make use of self-study.
Since learners differ in their preference to certain learning style, it will be important for teachers to examine the variations in their students on the features of their learning styles because the information about learner’s preference can help teachers become more sensitive to the differences students bring to the classroom.
Felder (2005), there are two features of learning style being classified according to learner’s perceptual behaviors, these are sensing and intuitive learning. Sensing learners are concrete and methodical they are good in memorizing facts and doing handwork and more comfortable following standard procedures. On the other hand, intuitive learners tend to be abstract and imaginative, they innovation and dislike repetition (Junko, 2008).
Also, since learning style were found to affects learners learning behaviour, learners who have different learning styles preference would behave differently in the way they perceive, interact and respond to their learning environment.
Awareness of these learning styles is relevant in as follows;
- Learning strategy is one of the ways of dealing with learning tasks that students develop to facilitate performance.
- By understanding difference learning styles, teachers may gain insight into ways of making academic information more accessible to their diverse group learners.
- Most students learn best when the style of presentation in the agreement with their preferred learning style.
2.2 Visual Learning Style and learning of Science Subjects
According to Mills (2000), visual learners are those learn best through seeing thing, look over the characteristics to see if they are familiar. In like manner stated that visual learners are those who prefer to receive learning in the form of pictures diagrams, films and demonstration. He further added that a visual learner is good at spellings. They need quiet study time and have to think a while before understanding lesson.
In a research on visual learning conducted by Franzer, Ohebukola they ascertain that using graphic organizers improves students’ performance in the following areas:
- Retention, students remember information better and can had better recall it when it is represented and learnedboth visual and verbally.
- Reading comprehension, the use graphic organizer helps in improving the reading comprehension of students.
- Students’ achievement, students with and without learning disabilities acquire improved achievement across content area and grade levels.
- Thinking and learning skills; when students develop and use graphic organizers, their higher order thinking skills are enhanced. The following strategies were also adopted as learning suggestions for learners.
- Draw a map of events in history or draw scientific process.
- Make outlines of everything.
- Copy what is on the broad.
- Take notes or make it.
- Colour code words, research notes.
2.3 Auditory Learning Style and Learning of Science Subjects
Mils defines auditory learners as those who learn best through learning things, look over to see if the sound familiar. They usually remember information more accurately when it has been orally remember information more accurately when it has been orally explained to them. He further stated that they possess the following characteristics:
- Auditory learners can accurate details of information they hear during converses or lectures.
- They have strong language skills, which include a developed vocabulary on appreciation for words.
- Their strong language skills, often lead to strong oral communication skills, they can on interesting conversations and can articulate their ideas clearing.
- Auditory learners often have musical talents, they can hear tones, rhythms, and individual notes with strong auditory skills.
- Auditory learners are most likely to read aloud when the read. Investigating the perceptual study of reader, Junko (2008)), found that good readers prefer to learn through their auditory sense. These individuals discover information through listening and interpreting information by reading aloud in the classroom and may not have full understanding information that is written.
Franzer, Okebukola and Jegede (2002) proposed learning suggestion of auditory learners. They recommended the following techniques for auditory learners.
- Records class notes and then listen to the recording repeatedly, rather than reading notes.
- Remember details by trying hear previous discussions.
- Participate in class discussions.
- Ask questions and volunteer in class.
- Repeating facts with eyes closed.
- Whisper new information when alone.
2.4 Kinesthetic Learning Styles and Learning of Science subjects
According to Oxford, individuals that are kinesthetic learners learn best with active hands on approach. These learners favour interaction with the physical world. Most of the time kinesthetic learners have a difficult time staying on target and can become unfocused effortlessly. The auditors associated the following characteristic with kinesthetic learners.
- Kinesthetic learners often wiggle, tap their feet, or move their legs when they sit.
- Kinesthetic learners are often labeled ‘hyperactive’ (unable to relax, always moving about or doing something).
- Because they learn through movement, kinesthetic often do well as performances, athletes, actors or dancers.
- Kinesthetic learners work well with their hands. They may be good at repairing work, sculpturing art or working with various tools.
- They are often well coordinated and a strong sense of timing and body movement.
- They like studying in the laboratory, they also like adventure books.
3.1 Area of the Study
The study was conducted in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area. Nsit Ubium Local Government Area was carved out of the then Etinan Local Government Area in May 3, 1989 with its headquarters at Ikot Edibon. Nsit Ubium is made of two clans, Nsit and Ubium with 65 villages. It is located at about 6km East of Eket Okobo, Nsit Ibom, Etinan, Ibesikpo Asutan and Nsit Atai Local Government Areas.
Nsit Ubium boundary with Nsit Ibom and Eket Local Government Areas. It well drained by the Qua Ibo River, which has tributaries scattered in many locations in the area. This great local government covers a land mass of 242,942sq Kin. According to 2006, national census in Nsit Ubium has a population to 128,231 with lovely people cut across the two clans Nsit Ubium clan.
Marshes and Swamps influenced by the Qua Iboe River Travers a large portion of the Local Government Area. Nsit Ubium People is generally very hospitable, knowledgeable and industrious. Nsit Ubium is under Uyo Senatorial District.
3.2 Research Design
The study adopted a survey research design. The design was considered appropriate for the study, since it involves gathering and analyzing of data from the people or item considered to be representatives of the entire work.
3.3 Population of the Study
The population of this study consisted of all Senior Secondary School Students in Nsit Ubium Local Government Area from (SS1-SS2) who offered Biology. The five public schools with a total (3276) student, (source) formed the population of this study.
3.4 Sample and Sampling Techniques
From the target population and a specific sampling, five public schools were with 50 Biology Students each, from SS1, to form a total sample size of 300.
3.5 Instrument for Data Collection
The instrument used for study was Students Achievement Test in Biology (SATB) consisted of fifteen (15) multiple choice questions and three essay questions to answer two scheme of work were used to choose the topics; and the students’ were taught to employ different learning style. The instrument was divided into two sections A and B. Section A sought information from the personal data of the respondents’ (i.e. the students). Whereas section B deal with the information related to the topic chosen.
3.6 Validity of the Instrument
The instrument designed by the researcher was reviewed by the project supervisor before it was administered to student’. The criteria for inclusion of the items in the instrument were simplicity, clarity and appropriateness of words. All comment by the supervisor was reflected in the final form of the instrument.
3.8 Administration of the Instrument
Permission was obtained from the principals of the schools visited; Students were briefed on the purpose of the exercise, a total of one hundred and eighty (180) copies oof test script administered randomly among the respondents’ within five (5) sampled schools.
3.8 Scoring of the Instrument
The respondents were give tag numbers in order to like on the test script with scored in academic performance of students since individual differ significantly in their judgment to a particular situation or circumstance, the decision to score responses offered on the instrument items because of the responses that may have occurred.
3.9 Method of Data Analysis
The data collected for the study were subjected to statistical analysis using independent t-test. This was considered appropriate for testing the null hypothesis formulated to guide the study.
DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDING
4.1 Data Analysis
This chapter presents the result of the data analysis the interpretation of the result and discussion of the findings in line with the research hypothesis that guided the investigation.
There is no significant difference between visual learning styles and student’s academic performance in science subject.
Table I: Performance of science student taught with visual learning style and kinesthetic style
|N x SD df t-cal t-crit Decision
|Students taught biology with visual learning style
|12.2 64.1 21.13
0.05 8.20 1.972 HO
12.5 44.2 20.17
|Students taught biology with kinesthetic learning style
P = 0.05, N = 50, df =24.8, t-cal = 8.20, t-crit = 1.972
The analysis in table 1, show that, the t-calculated value of 8.20 was greater than the t-critical value of 1.972 at 0.05 level of significance with 24.8 df.
Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected and is being restated that, there is a significant difference between visual learning styles and learning of science subject in secondary schools.
There is no significant difference between auditory learning style and learning of science subjects in secondary schools.
|N X SD df t-cal t-crit Decision
|Auditory learning style and learning of science subject
|125 61.8 19.52
0.05 5.504 24.8
125 47.6 21.19
|Kinesthetic learning style and student’s learning of science subject
P = 0.05, N = 50 df = 24.8, t-cal = 5.504, t-critical -1972
From the analysis in table 2, the finding indicated that, since the t calculated value of 5.504 was greater than the critical t- value the null hypothesis was rejected and the alternative accepted and restated there is a significant difference between student taught with auditory learning style and those taught with kinesthetic learning style.
4.2 Discussion of Findings
The result in result in table 1: indicated that there is a significant different between students taught with visual learning style and those taught with kinesthetic learning style. This is because the t-calculated value of 8.20 was greater than the t- critical value of 1.972 at 0.05 level of significant with 248 df this finding support the opinion of Kefee (2004).
Visual learning style is one in which an individual refers using pictures since learner differ in their preference to certain learning style. It will be important for teachers to examine the variations in their students on the features of their learning styles because the information about learners’ preference can help teachers become more sensitive to differences students bring to the classroom. He asserted that, graphic organizers improves student’ academic performance by retaining what was taught in the classroom while most of the line kinesthetic learners have unfocused effortlessly.
In addition, in table 2, the analysis indicated that there is a significant difference between auditory learning style and kinesthetic learning style, since the t-calculated value of 5.504 was greater than the t-critical value of 1.972 at 0.05 level of significant with degree of freedom.
This findings support the opinion of Junco (2008) that good readers prefer to learn through their auditory sense, these individuals discover information through hastening and interpreting information by means of pitch, emphasis and speed the recommended the following techniques for auditory learners.
- Records class notes and then listen to the recording repeatedly, rather than reading notes:
- Remember detail by trying to hear precious discussion
SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
The purpose of this study was to examine learning style and student’s academic performance in biology in Nsit Ubium local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Two hypotheses were formulated and all focused on learning style with respect to student’s academic performance in biology. It was believed that this study could be useful to teachers, government, guidance counselors, even the students.
A detail literature review was obtained from published and unpublished materials, journal, newspaper etc. its review was aimed at developing appreciation on the previous study done in this area.
Population of the study comprising of all senior secondary school students in Nsit Ubium local Government with a total of about 3,276 student. From the target, population 250 was randomly selected from five (5) public schools seeking their opinions on the topic. independent t-test was used as a method of data analysis the result revealed that there is a significant difference between learning style and student’s academic performance in biology. finally, conclusion and recommendation were documented.
Based on the finding of these studies, the following recommendations were made:
- Teachers should incorporate activities related to each of the learning styles so that all students will be able to succeed in the class.
- Teachers should complement their lesson with standard or provide local resources to enhance visual and auditory learning style among students.
- Curricular designers and policy makers should motivate teachers to create room for object manipulation during lesson delivery by providing enough materials in schools laboratory for practical demonstrations.
- Teachers should be encouraged to attain workshops similar and conference in order to modernize their professional requirements.
- Finally, student should develop better attitude toward the selection of learning style, to encourage their academic performance.
Based on the summary of the finding it could be conclusion that learning styles has a significant influence on student’s academic performance in biology in secondary schools in Nsit Ubium local Government Area.
To this end learning style is the way a person processes, internalizes and studies new and challenging materials. It can therefore be concluded that visual and auditory learning style helps students to be academically oriented and crystallize their thinking with a clear set of objectives than Kinesthetic learning style.
I am Prince Stephen. The admin of nairaschool.com.ng. I’m a passionate writer, editor and an experienced educational blogger who writes articles on education, educational research and school news. I based in Afaha Nsit, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.