Shuib & Norbaya

Learning Style Preferences Among Male and Female ESL Students in Universiti-Sains Malaysia

Munir Shuib, National Higher Education Research Institute (NaHERI), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Siti Norbaya Azizan, National Higher Education Research Institute (NaHERI), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Abstract

Individuals preferentially process information in different ways. This includes the varied learning style preference of the individuals in any study program, including English as a Second Language (ESL). However, one of major concerns is, do the ESL students have different preferred way to learn? Past studies have given mixed results including pertaining to Malaysian students. To address this issue, this study sought to identify whether there are differences in learning style preferences between male and female students who undertook ESL courses in the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). To achieve the study objective, Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model (FSLSM) was selected to gather data on the respondents’ learning style preference due to its validity, widespread use and suitability to the scope of the study. The responses gathered from FSLSM were tallied and assessed for gender difference in LSP. Results indicated that, there is a strong representation of visual learners from both male and female respondents. On the other hand, the respondents, irrespective of the gender difference, are well-balanced in the dimensions of sensing/intuitive, active/reflective, and sequential/global. In addressing the gender difference, it was found in this study that there is no significant difference between male and female ESL students in their preferred learning styles on each of the FSLSM dimension. Thus, this study revealed that, gender does not help differentiate students’ learning preferences. The findings lend support to several past studies on LSP.

Keywords:

ESL, gender, Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model (FSLSM), learning styles, learning preferences, undergraduate, language learning


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