Learning preference of undergraduates and PGCE students in relation to subjects of study.
This study is concerned with the learning preferences of undergraduate and
PGCE students studying a wide range of subjects. A new questionnaire was
specifically designed to incorporate a broad view of learning preferences and
included items referring to both affective and strategic processes. The
questionnaire was completed by 628 PGCE students and 417 undergraduates
from several different universities. By means of factor analysis, five
dimensions to the learning preference scale were identified. These were:
interaction and participation, beliefs about knowledge, approach to learning,
instructional preferences and regulation of study strategies.
Clear subject differences in learning preferences were identified. There
were some differences between those students electing to pursue a PGCE
course and the undergraduate students, although the subject order remained
constant. Mathematics students consistently lie at one end of the scale
(characterising surface learning approaches, belief in the transferability of
knowledge, less dependence on interaction and a need for external
regulation) and English students at the other (identified with deep learning
strategies, belief in negotiated knowledge, preference for interaction and
self-regulation of study). Overall gender and age differences were not
significant except for the greater self-regulation of study by women students.