Learning styles among mature-age students: some comments on the approaches to studying inventory (ASI-S)
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AbstractThe short form of Entwistle's (1981) Approaches to Studying Inventory (ASI-S) was administered to 503 mature-aged students, most of whom identified themselves as disadvantaged and were returning to study after many years absence. Analysis of the 503 responses showed that internal consistency estimates for the seven subscales of the ASI-S were generally low, but that confirmatory factor analysis could recover two major dimensions corresponding to deep and surface orientations to learning. To examine the predictive validity of the ASI-S with this population, results for a mathematics unit which they were studying were regressed on factor scores. Results of the structural analysis indicated that the deep orientation was unrelated to academic progression in mathematics but that high scores on the surface orientation were associated with poor academic performance ( = 0.092). These findings indicate that broad learning orientations are fundamental and can be identified in a group of students returning to study after a long absence. The study also emphasises the importance of examining the particular study context when evaluating the effect of learning orientations. The effect of deep and surface orientations may be positive or negative depending on the subject area and the learning context.