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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-9

Learning strategies and academic success in traditional and nontraditional higher education students

Department of Educational Science, Kazerun Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kazerun, Iran

Date of Web Publication19-Dec-2014

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Alireza Ghasemizad
Department of Educational Science, Kazerun Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kazerun
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.147449

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Aim: This paper aimed at studying the learning strategies and effort/persistence of the traditional and nontraditional students. Method: Through cluster sampling, 245 students from four major and large Islamic Azad University branches in Iran were randomly selected, and questionnaires were distributed among them. The research method was correlation and casual-comparative. Cronbach's alpha method was used to calculate the reliability. The Item analysis and expert consensus were applied to calculate the validity of instruments. Results: The results indicated that there was no significant difference between the learning strategies of these two groups of students. Furthermore, there was no significant difference between the academic success of these two groups.

Keywords: Academic success, effort/persistence, higher education, learning strategies, nontraditional students

How to cite this article:
Ghasemizad A. Learning strategies and academic success in traditional and nontraditional higher education students. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2015;1:7-9

How to cite this URL:
Ghasemizad A. Learning strategies and academic success in traditional and nontraditional higher education students. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 May 16];1:7-9. Available from: https://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2015/1/1/7/147449

  Introduction Top

It is believed that various psychological variables involved in the learning process play an important role in the academic success of any given group of students. The bulk of research done has indicated that learning strategy is one of these variables that empower students in the course of their education. [1],[2],[3]

Although students' chance of academic success is related to and depends on the learning strategies that they have adapted. This is to say that students' awareness of the importance of various learning strategies increases the possibility of their success. [4] In other words "learning strategy" is an integrated element in the process of learning. The students with surface learning approach show external motivation and believe that academic education is a means of securing a professional status in their future career. They need to keep a balance between hard work and avoiding failure; therefore, their attempts are focused on meeting course requirements and passing the exams. These students follow a surface strategy and their learning are limited to submitting homework and reproduction through route learning and repetition as they cannot relate the material presented to them. The students with deep learning approach are interested in the course material. They have internal motivation, and their learning activities are focused on answering their sense of curiosity and true understanding. They find the homework interesting and a part of their learning process that leads to deep understanding of the topic presented. These students related their present learning with the experience. The research done in the area of learning strategy have shown that students' experience in the academic setting is not conducive to deep strategy by itself; it is over concluded that being in a teaching-learning situation does not work to this effect. Students' understanding of the notion of success does not lead to meaningful learning. The learning outcomes and the quality of learning all depend on the learning strategy chosen; the awareness of the behalf of teachers and instructors of these approaches can facilitate a better educational context. [5],[6],[7],[8]

Based on the literature review, it can be said that the relationship between learning strategies of traditional and nontraditional students and their academic success is not studied comprehensively in case of Iranian universities. The present study intends to compare the different learning strategies (surface and deep) among students and investigate the role of learning strategies and effort/persistence of two groups of students' academic success -traditional (<23-year-old), nontraditional (>23-year-old) in different Azad University branches of Fars Province in Iran.

Research questions

  • Is there a significant difference between traditional and nontraditional students' academic success?
  • Is there a significant difference between the learning strategies of traditional and nontraditional students?
  • Which one of the variables (deep strategy, surface strategy and effort/persistence) is more important in nontraditional students' academic success?

  Methods Top

The method was descriptive - correlational and casual-comparative Research. The statistical population of this study was all students of different branches of the Islamic Azad University in Fars Province in Iran, and 245 samples were selected through application of cluster sampling.


To select the right data gathering tool, previous researches on the subject were reviewed. The questionnaire on the learning strategies was prepared based on the studies conducted by, [9],[10] which included 8 items scaled based on Likert scale from "always" to "never." More scores in this scale meant more use of deep strategy. The validity of this instrument was confirmed through expert consensus and factor analysis. The reliability was calculated with Cronbach's alpha that was 0.70. Effort/persistence: To measure this variable an 8 item questionnaire based on Miller's et al., Study (1996) was prepared with scores ranging from "Always" to "Never" on the basis of Likert scale. The validity was calculated based on Item analysis. Reliability was calculated based on Cronbach's alpha that equaled 0.77. The subscale of Course Experience Questionnaire was used to assess students' academic success rate that included 5 items scaled from "very much" to "very little". [11] The validity was calculated based on Item analysis, and reliability of this subscale, calculated by Cronbach's alpha that was 0.76.

  Results Top

Is there a significant difference between traditional and nontraditional students' academic success? To answer this question, a t-test for independent groups was applied. The result is given in [Table 1].
Table 1: Comparison of students' college success means

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[Table 2] shows that there is no significant difference between the academic successes of these two groups of students. Is there a significant difference between the learning strategies of traditional and nontraditional students?
Table 2: Comparison of students learning strategies means

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Which one of the variables (deep strategy, surface strategy and effort/persistence) is more important in nontraditional students' academic success? The findings based on multiple-regression are given in [Table 3] and [Table 4].
Table 3: ANOVA for the regression equation

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Table 4: Regression of effort/persistence, surface and deep strategies on nontraditional students' academic success

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[Table 3] shows that the Regression model is significant. R2 = 0.38, thus deep strategy and effort/persistence as variables can predict 0.14 of students' academic success.

As indicated in [Table 4] the figure of deep strategy shows that this variable plays an important role in the in nontraditional students' academic success, as one unit of change in standard deviation leads to β 0.29 variation in the academic success. The other important variable was Effort/persistence with β 0.20; surface strategy was not significant. According to the core regression in  [Table 4], the most important predicting variable in case of nontraditional students is their deep learning strategy.

  Conclusion Top

The study aimed at comparing the learning strategy of traditional students (18-23 years old) and nontraditional students (23 years and over) and their academic success rate. The study showed no significant difference between the two groups' academic success. However, nontraditional students are highly motivated and perform better than traditional ones in most cases. [12],[13] This high degree of motivation can be accounted for by taking a number of issues into consideration; traditional students are younger, less-experiences, and they have concerns about their future careers. The nontraditional students are highly motivated and internal locus of control. [14],[15] Therefore, they achieve more academic success. [16] Accordingly and based on the findings of various studies, there is no significant difference between the two groups. The t-test for independent groups showed that nontraditional students have deep learning strategies, but this does not lead to a significant difference. The multi-variable regression showed that the effort/persistence variable in case of nontraditional students was a major factor in their success. Likely this can be because of the fact that these students attend their classes less regularly because of their other commitments such as job, marriage, etc. [16],[17],[18] They found that nontraditional students use deep learning strategies. This can be accounted for by saying that nontraditional students show more serious and work hard towards gaining success. A greater part of nontraditional students have factors such as families, full-time jobs, finances and other various responsibilities, which need to be taken into consideration before deciding to go back to school. For this reason they try to study lessons more meaningful than what the traditional students do. They tend to be more self-directed learners for whom learning is inherently joyful, and as such they carry more to the classroom in terms of commitment and goals. [19] In contrast, traditional students do not have lack of time problem and adults' preoccupation and likely spend more time to study lessons and among three major variables of deep, surface learning strategies and effort/persistence; the deep strategy and effort/persistence play the main role in nontraditional students' academic success. Hence, the variable effort/persistence hade more effects on their academic success.

  References Top

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Ghasemizad A, Khajehei H, Kazemi M, Tabrizi HB, Abbasi A. An assessment of the mediation role of statistics′ persistence/effort and strategy use in non-traditional students. Am J Sci Res 2011;26:121-33.  Back to cited text no. 8
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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]

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