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The Influence of Educational and Sociocultural Factors on the Learning Styles and Strategies of Female Students in Saudi Arabia

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posted on 20.03.2012, 14:00 authored by Neamah Habbas Almutairi
This study investigates the learning styles and strategies of female university students in Saudi Arabia in relation to their educational and sociocultural backgrounds. Its main aim is to explore the implications of the findings for instructional design, student orientation and teacher training to help improve the cognitive skills and competencies of Saudi women and enhance their role in society. A two-stage, sequential mixed methodology incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methods of collecting and analysing the data was used. The participants were 209 first-year female students at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia, studying English as a foreign language. The data collection instruments consisted of questionnaires, focus groups and observations. Data analysis provided a description of the students’ overall approaches to learning and revealed a number of educational and sociocultural variables that predicted a pattern of learning style and strategy use. In the students’ educational experience, greater priority was given to memorising information than to self-expression, speculation, or analytical skills. Some similarities were identified between the students’ educational experiences and their social activities that corresponded to a reduction in their active involvement in the learning process and influenced their thinking and behaviour. Two major conclusions were drawn from the results. Firstly, cultural background has a strong effect on the students’ preferred learning styles and strategies. Secondly, there is a need to pay more corrective attention to many educationally relevant variables in order to meet the changing and increasing demands of Saudi society. Based on the findings and conclusions of the study, the obstacles that could possibly influence the successful application of a more communicative/collaborative approach to teaching, learning and personal development are discussed, along with implications for future research.



Davies, Diane

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University of Leicester

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