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Undergraduates Learning Preferences: A Comparison of Science, Technology and Social Science Academic Disciplines in Relations to Teaching Designs and Strategies

Authors: Shaira Ismail, Salina Budin


Students learn effectively in a learning environment with a suitable teaching approach that matches their learning preferences. The main objective of the study is to examine the learning preferences amongst the students in the Science and Technology (S&T), and Social Science (SS) fields of study at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Pulau Pinang. The measurement instrument is based on the Dunn and Dunn Learning Styles which measure five elements of learning styles; environmental, sociological, emotional, physiological and psychological. Questionnaires are distributed amongst undergraduates in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Business Management. The respondents comprise of 131 diploma students of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and 111 degree students of the Faculty of Business Management. The results indicate that, both S&T and SS students share a similar learning preferences on the environmental aspect, emotional preferences, motivational level, learning responsibility, persistent level in learning and learning structure. Most of the S&T students are concluded as analytical learners and the majority of SS students are global learners. Both S&T and SS students are concluded as visual learners, preferred to be in an active mobility in a relaxing and enjoying mode with some light of refreshments during the learning process and exhibited reflective characteristics in learning. Obviously, the S&T students are considered as left brain dominant, whereas the SS students are right brain dominant. The findings highlighted that both categories of students exhibited similar learning preferences except on psychological preferences.

Keywords: Social Science, Science and Technology, learning preferences, Dunn and Dunn learning style, teaching approach

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