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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 278-282

The simple and multiple relationships between learning strategies and distance learners' achievement


Department of Education, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran

Date of Web Publication31-Aug-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mehran Farajollahi
Department of Education, Payame Noor University, Tehran
Iran
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Source of Support: Nil., Conflict of Interest: None declared.


DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.163932

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  Abstract 

Aim: The present article is based on research aiming to study the simple and multiple relationships between learning strategy and distance learners' achievement. Methods: The sample was consisted of 476 students at Payam Noor University who was selected using multistage cluster sampling and Krejcie-Morgan table. The methodology of the research was a correlation. In order to gather data, 31 questions of motivated strategies for learning questionnaire made by Pintrich et al., were used. These questions are related to the learning strategies. The reliability of the questionnaire was calculated to be α = 0.92. The collected data were analyzed using Pearson's correlation and multiple regression-inter model. Results: The results indicated that the categories of learning strategies were predictors for distance learners' achievement significantly (R = 0.67, R2 = 0.45, F(5,570) = 75.2, P < 0.01). Conclusions: This study mainly aims to investigate the relationship between categories of learning strategies and distance learners' achievement.

Keywords: Academic achievement, distance learning, learning strategies, metacognition


How to cite this article:
Farajollahi M. The simple and multiple relationships between learning strategies and distance learners' achievement. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2015;1:278-82

How to cite this URL:
Farajollahi M. The simple and multiple relationships between learning strategies and distance learners' achievement. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Aug 22];1:278-82. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2015/1/4/278/163932


  Introduction Top


Distance education is being reformed rapidly, and it aims to provide educational services without attention to geographical location, time, and gender to those who, for whatever reason, cannot attend university campuses.[1] Meanwhile, as a result of such personal features as age, employment, and being married, distance learners are in much need of being successful as for them continuing their studies in the distance education mode depends on their educational success.[2],[3],[4] This is due to the fact that in contrast to the conventional system, distance education does not have the possibly of monitoring and controlling learner's behavior and thus learners need to be self-oriented. In spite of the numerous studies conducted in regard to learning strategies and educational achievement in the conventional system, little evidence exists about the investigation of the role of learning strategies in distance education.[5]

According to Vermunt (1998) education will not necessarily lead to learning, but students' learning depends on the learning strategies they employ. Farajollahi believes that in order to succeed in distance education, learners need to have answers for the following questions[6]: How should they learn? in case of inefficiency, when and how should they change their strategies? what does motivate them? what are their thoughts in regard to learning duties? which learning strategies help them to succeed in distance learning?

Learning strategies refer to the attempts learners make in order to plan and organize studies, set goals, and observe their educational achievement.[7],[8] Some define learning strategies as the methods through which learners actively receive and process the information. This active processing gives learners the ability to interpret the information, store it in their cognitive structure. Hence experience meaningful learning.[9],[10],[11]

The results gained from numerous studies indicated that learning strategies have a positive and significant relationship with learners' academic achievement.[10],[12],[13] Winters, Greene, and Costich (2008) have demonstrated that learning strategy is the mediating variable between computer-based learning and achievement.[14] In the study conducted by Rezaee and Seif on conventional education and in the study conducted by Dungun and Curry on distance education, categories of learning strategies are considered meaningful predictions for the educational success of students.[15] The researcher showed that learning strategies are affected by content and material, as well as structure and educational methodologies, lead to deeper learning, and influence students' achievement.[16]

In this study, categories of learning strategies include rehearsal, elaboration, information organization, critical thinking, and metacognition. Rehearsal refers to a mental review of the information that can enhance learning. Using this method, the information in the short-term memory remains active and finds the opportunity to be transferred to long-term memory.[17] Findings by Pintrich and Schunk[18] as well as those by Pintrich and DeGroot[19] indicated that in conventional education rehearsal has a meaningful relationship with educational achievement and motivation of learning.

Elaboration is required for creating relationships or shared meaning between two or different parts of the information. Using this strategy, learners add to or elaborate the things they want to learn in order to make the learning material easier to be learned or remembered. Slavin has defined elaboration as the process of relating new materials to the information or the concepts that were already in learners' minds.[17] Findings by Weinstein and Mayer (1986)[20]; and Ommundsen indicated that the skill of elaboration has a positive and meaningful relationship with learners' achievement and by creating connections between the new material and the already learned ones will help the material to be kept in learners' long-term memory for a longer period.[21] In addition, Yukselturk and Bulut demonstrated that learners who have a great skill of elaboration are more capable in solution-solving skills and can easily have educational interactions with their peers.[22]

Information organization refers to putting the conceptually related materials in the same categories to form a single category. Scholars are of the conviction that learning and remembering the materials that have been well organized are much easier than those which are weak organized.[17] Findings by Schumm showed that information organization affects meaningful learning as one of the categories of learning strategies.[23]

Critical Thinking refers to using already learned knowledge and information in the new situations and evaluating the existing thoughts in the subject matter.[24] In other words, critical thinking is a self-regulated and oriented judging process that devotes reflective and reasonable attention to evidence, grounds, concepts, methods, and the criteria.[25]

The findings indicated that critical thinking is one of the personal characteristics of distance learner's particularly in distance learning systems and affects the quality of education, learning and consequently people's achievement.[16],[22] Moreover, findings by researchers showed that in distance education, critical thinking is one of the main variables affecting achievement.[23]

Metacognition includes planning, reviewing, and modifying cognitive activities. Flavell has defined metacognition as the awareness about the way a person learns, awareness about the way existing information is used to reach a goal, the capability to judge cognitive processes in a particular task, the awareness about choosing the strategies that are to be used to reach certain goals, and the self-evaluation of achievement during a task and after completing it.[26],[27] Studies by Pintrich, and DeGroot[19] Skitka[28] and Sungur[29] into conventional education and the study by Kosnin[30] into distance education have shown that there is a positive and meaningful relationship between metacognition and learners' achievement. However, in the study by Phan[31] in regard to conventional education, no meaningful relationship has been reported between critical thinking and achievement.

As it was stated earlier, on the one hand, learning strategies are of great importance in learning and education, particularly in distance education; on the other hand, learning strategies can be enhanced and taught. Therefore, by using this variable and its categories, the achievements of distance learners can be enhanced. Meanwhile, no study has been conducted in regard to the relationship between learning strategies and achievement in distance education in Iran. The researchers in this study aim to:

  • Study the simple and multiple relationship between learning strategies and distance learners' achievement
  • Investigate the role of different categories of learning strategies in predicting distance learners' achievement.



  Methods Top


A descriptive-correlation method was used in this study. Data were collected through a print based instrument in paradise. The collected data were analyzed through the Pearson correlation matrix and linear multiple regression. Population were students (over their third term of the curriculum) of the Iranian Payame Noor University composed the statistical community of our study during their second semester in 2010–2011. These students were studied in all courses including B.S., M.S., and PhD's of various fields throughout Iran. The multi-phase clustering method was used for sampling. Furthermore, Iranian provinces were then divided into three classes: Developed, intermediate and deprived classes. Then, a province was selected in each class. For example, the province of Tehran was selected as a developed province, Guilan was selected as an intermediate province and Ardabil was selected as a deprived province. Out of the selected provinces, Payame Noor University of the capital city of each province and a center/unit were selected randomly. The sample volume was measured as 476 people based on Krejcie-Morgan table through considering α =0.05 and cluster sampling. In order to gather data, 31 questions of motivated strategies for learning questionnaire made by pintrich et al.,[32] were used. These questions are related to the learning strategies. The reliability of the questionnaire and its components were measured by Cronbach's Alpha [Table 1]. Measured values showed that the questionnaire and its components enjoy high internal similarity in terms of both native and Iranian students. It must be said that the questions translated to the Persian. Academic achievement was obtained through asking this question from students directly.
Table 1: Psychometrics features of learning strategies scale

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  Results Top


[Figure 1] shows the rate of learning strategies' components: Rehearsal, information organization, critical thinking, and metacognition separately males and females distance learners.
Figure 1: The rate of distance learners‘ learning strategies separately female and male

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According to [Figure 1], the male students mean score of total components is higher than female students mean score.

According to results of [Table 2], there is a simple relation between learning strategies and academic achievement statistically significance (r = 0.60, P < 0.01). Also, there is a positive and significant relation amongst all components of learning strategies and distance learners' academic achievement (P < 0.01). Moreover the obtained simple coefficient relation between rehearsal, elaboration, information organization, critical thinking, metacognition and academic achievement was r = 0.65, r = 0.49, r = 0.59, r = 0.57, r = 0.60, and r = 0.60 respectively. Similarly, the computed coefficient relation between all components of learning strategies with together and all components with learning strategy were statistically significant.
Table 2: The simple correlation among tutoring service quality, its components, and academic achievement

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According [Table 3], F(5,570) =75.2 shows that R = 0.67 with P < 0.01 in confidence level 99% is significant. In other words, 45% of distance learners' academic achievement is implied based on changes of learning strategies.
Table 3: Predicting the academic achievement based on learning strategies

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Amongst the dimensions of learning strategies, the shares of metacognition (Beta = 0.3), critical thinking (Beta = 0.2), organization (Beta = 0.16), and elaboration (Beta = 0.17) are significant (P < 0.01). But, the share of rehearsal (Beta =–0.1), is not significant in comparison with other components (P > 0.05).


  Conclusions Top


This study mainly aims to investigate the relationship between categories of learning strategies and distance learners' achievement. The results of regression analysis indicated that the categories of learning strategies such as rehearsal, elaboration, information organization, critical thinking, and metacognition can be strong predictions for achievement as R = 0.67 for 476 people can be considered a high regression coefficient. In other words, we can claim with 99% certainty that 45% of changes in distance learners' achievement can be explained based on rehearsal, elaboration, information organization, critical thinking, and metacognition. Considering the meaning of learning strategies-the amount of attempts made by learners to plan, organize studies, set goals, and observe their educational achievements,[7],[8] such results seem reasonable. As Farajollahi[6] states, in order to be successful in distance education, learners need to know how to learn, when and how to change their strategies in case of inefficiency, and which learning strategies help them succeed in learning and distance education. It should be mentioned that the studies conducted by Rezaee and Seif, Pintrinch, Schunk, Laura, Salvator and Zimmerman on conventional education and the studies by Winters and Dungun and Curry on distance education have produced similar results.[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15]

Among the different categories of learning strategies, metacognition played a bigger role in prediction of educational achievement in comparison to the other categories. Considering the meaning of metacognition as the awareness about the way a person learns, awareness about the way existing information is used to reach a goal, the capability to judge cognitive processes in a particular task, the awareness about particular strategies that are to be used in order to reach particular goals, and the self-evaluation of achievement during a task and after completing it Flavel, and McCormic, this finding seems reasonable. Studies by Pintrich and DeGroot, Skitka, and Sungur into conventional education and the study by Kosnin into distance education have also shown that there is a positive and meaningful relationship between metacognition and learners' achievement.[19],[26],[27],[28],[29],[30]

Among the different categories of learning strategies, rehearsal did not have a meaningful relationship in predicting learners' achievement. This result is not in line with the findings by Duncan and McKeachie,[33] and Pintrich[10] although they were in regard to conventional education. In order to account for this result, we can say that since there was an internal correlation between different categories of learning strategies with each other, the previous categories were stronger and had a higher prediction coefficient and thus overshadowed other variables. Meanwhile, the simple relationship between rehearsal and achievement was in itself meaningful.

Since the categories of learning strategies can be taught and they play a major role in predicting distance learners' achievement, institutes and universities with distance education system should enhance learning strategies of the students through necessary teachings and provide the ground for their success. Among the main limitations of this study is the lack of tendency on the part of some of the informants to complete the questionnaire. All informants were promised to be individually and confidentially provided with the results of their answers.


  Acknowledgments Top


Students, who paved the way for conducting the research, by completing questionnaires in detail, and the respectful referees who spend their valuable time to assess this paper, are appreciated.



 
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