Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1998

Abstract

One of the major priorities for community colleges is to focus on the pedagogical tools that will allow students to achieve excellence and quality in curriculum and instruction to meet the changing societal needs (Shearon & Tollefson, 1989). Rapid demographic, social, and technological changes demand that community colleges produce self-directed lifelong learners (Closson, 1996). The study of student learning preferences for more teacher-directed or more self-directed learning is one of the concepts that is important in enhancing teaching and learning practices. The purpose of this study was to examine students' teacher-directed versus self-directed learning preferences in specific courses. The possible relationships among age, gender, and academic majors and the learning preferences (teacher-directed or self-directed) were also explored. The revised version of Learning Style Preference Questionnaire (LSPQ) originally designed by Hinkle (1990) was administered to 563 students at five selected community colleges in the southeast. The majority of the participants were female traditional students majoring in the natural sciences. The sample showed a preference for teacher-directed orientation in specific courses. Statistically significant differences were observed in the magnitude of the teacher-directed orientation between the mean scores of male and female students with male students scoring significantly higher than the female students. Traditional students obtained significantly higher mean scores on the items addressing the delivery of instruction than the nontraditional students. Nontraditional students obtained significantly higher mean scores on the items addressing the testing of learning. Gender had an impact on the magnitude of the teacher-directed learning preferences for evaluation and testing of learning. Academic majors had an impact on the magnitude of the teacher-directed learning preferences for evaluation of learning. Students in this study preferred a teacher-directed approach to learning. Follow-up research using a variety of instruments may investigate how this preference contributes to or affects academic achievement. It is recommended that the methods and procedures adopted in this study be replicated in other community colleges across the nation. Learning preference concepts and methods should be developed at the community college level to include professional development of instructors so that they may better provide learning opportunities for their students. Such studies may also be conducted in other parts of the world to determine how cultural differences may impact on learning preferences.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access