New university students’ instructional preferences and how these relate to learning styles and motivational strategies

The main objective of this study is to analyze the dimensions underlying the preferences of university students regarding instructional methods, and the relationship of these preferences with their learning styles and motivational strategies. The sample consisted of 158 students in their first year of teaching college at the University of Valencia (Spain). Learning style was evaluated using the Inventory of Learning Processes, motivational orientation through the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, and preferences about instructional methods with a scale specifically designed for this study. Results highlight the existence of three types of preferences – multidirectional, unidirectional and autonomous – based fundamentally on the degree and type of interaction and level of autonomy each allows in academic learning. Preferences for multidirectional and unidirectional methods were significantly superior than preferences for autonomous learning. Furthermore, the results show a close relationship between preferences for multidirectional and unidirectional methods and elaborative processing, as well as an inverse relationship between the former and fact retention.
Preferences for unidirectional and authonomous methods are related to an internal attribution of the learning results, while preferences for multidirectional methods are related to high expectations of self-efficacy.

Article originally published in ‘Revista Electronica de Investigacion Psicoeducativa’, V. 6 (2008), n. 3, Reprinted with permission

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