LEARNING STYLE, CHOICE OF MAJOR, AND PREFERENCE FOR OCCUPATIONAL ENVIRONMENT (VOCATIONAL, CONGRUENCE, ACHIEVEMENT)

ROBERT J DURFEY, Fordham University

Abstract

This study explored the possibility that learning style preferences underlie vocational interests and choices as described by John L. Holland's typology. The Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI) and Canfield's Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) were administered to 432 beginning- and advanced-level community college students in six majors representative of Holland's environmental themes. Additional information on reading ability and GPA was analyzed in order to obtain a more accurate assessment of educational behaviors.^ The majority of students preferred the primary environmental orientation represented in their major. The Holland themes ascribed to two majors were not upheld for this sample.^ Discriminant function analysis revealed two separate dimensions on which the learning style preferences of the six groups differed significantly. The first dimension differentiated students who preferred goal setting and competition (Science and Managerial Studies) from students who preferred activities with people and content that involves the use of language (Music and Human Services). The second dimension distinguished between students who preferred competition and activities with people (Science) and students who preferred working with inanimate objects or specific tasks (Secretarial Science).^ LSI-profile similarity analysis showed that beginning students demonstrated greater congruence when their LSI profile resembled the profile of same-sexed advanced students in their major. Profile similarity seemed to be related to academic achievement for all beginning male students. A significant relationship between VPI-major congruence and academic achievement was found for beginning and advanced males. No interaction effect was found for LSI-profile similarity and congruence.^ A small sample interview study was conducted following the analysis of the initial research data in order to determine intra-individual factors that might influence students' learning style, choice of major, and preferences for work. Among the factors reported were: competing learning style preferences; cultural differences; individual life histories; and specific occupational interests.^ Recommendations for future research included: replication of the study using diverse samples of community college students; examination of learning style preferences in relation to specific occupational goals; use of observational methods to identify learning style preferences in the classroom; and exploration of social, motivational, and emotional dimensions of learning styles. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

DURFEY, ROBERT J, "LEARNING STYLE, CHOICE OF MAJOR, AND PREFERENCE FOR OCCUPATIONAL ENVIRONMENT (VOCATIONAL, CONGRUENCE, ACHIEVEMENT)" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8616821.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8616821

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