Abstract: The study investigated Learning Styles and Academic Performance of Biology Students in Secondary Schools in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. The quasi experimental design was adopted in the study. Population of the study comprises all senior secondary two students who registered for Biology in 2017/2018 academic session. Two research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. Sample size was 120 senior secondary two Biology students from six public secondary schools in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. Biology Achievement Test was used as the instrument for data collection. The data collected were analyzed using independent t-test. The result revealed that there is a significant difference in academic performance between students of Biology who adopted kinesthetic and auditory learning styles and that there is no significant difference in academic performance between male and female students who adopted kinesthetic and auditory learning styles.
It was recommended that since students prefer kinesthetic learning style, the teachers should help to bridge the gap between realities and abstract in the teaching-learning processes by always demonstrating lesson. Biology teachers should be encouraged to attain workshops, seminars and conferences in order to update their professional requirements and be kept abreast of contemporal issues in the field of study.
1.1 Background to the study
A learning style refers to an individual’s natural or habitual pattern of acquiring knowledge. Keefeer (2014) defined learning styles as the composite o characteristics cognitive, affective and physiological factors that serve as relatively stable indicators of how a learner perceives, interact and responds to the learning environment, Felicetti (2010) defined learning styles as those educational conditions under which a student is most likely to learn. Learning styles are points along a scale that helps us to discover the different forms of mental representations.
The literature basically indicates that there is a wide acceptance of the concept of learning styles (Thompson–Schill, Kraemer and Rosenberg, 2014). The teaching profession has long recognized the need for innovative instructional activities that relate to the diverse learning styles of learners. There are some questions as to how meaningful they are to the learning environment, that is, most researchers agree that we have various learning styles and preferences.
However, the researcher agree that it is important to design learning programs to match presentation with the nature of the subject; such as providing correct learning methods, strategies and context Confel (2014) found that graphics and tactile re-orientations of the subject matter had noticeable effect on learning outcomes regardless of any attempt to match them with learners found that visual presentations through the use of pictures was advantageous to all students irrespective of a high or low learning style preference was given to the visual images.
Merrill (2010) argued that most students are unaware of their learning styles and they are left to their own means. They are unlikely to start a new way of learning. Therefore, knowledge of one’s learning style can be used to increase self awareness about their strengths and weakness as learners. In other words all the advantages claimed for Mata cognition (being aware of one’s own thinking and learning process can be gained by encouraging learners to become knowledgeable about their own learning styles and that of other Cofferled (2014).
1.2 Statement of the problem
The teaching and learning of Biology in Nigerian schools have series of challenges due to the fact that the process involves the effort of both the teachers and students. Thus, one of the major challenges of educational system is lack of students’ participation in the teaching and learning process at all levels especially at senior secondary level of education, affected the quality delivery of instructions. This implies that students occupy the central position in the teaching and learning processes. In view of the important position occupied by students in the teaching and learning processes, approaches to learning become necessary to be studied.
The importance of academic achievement has raised several queries among educational researchers. In search for answers to the queries, a number of attempts have been made by researchers to identify factors which influence academic achievement. It is therefore based on the above quest importance that a question arises on the mind of the researcher regarding the correlation between learning styles and academic achievement of students in basic science in Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The main purpose of this study is to examine learning styles and academic performance of science students offering Biology in secondary schools in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. Specific objective of the study include:
- to investigate the significant difference in academic performance between students taught using kinesthetic and auditory learning styles in secondary schools;
- to investigate the significant difference in academic performance in between male and female students taught using kinesthetic and auditory learning styles in secondary schools.
1.4 Significance of the study
The finding of this study will be useful in the following ways: To the students, the study is designed toward helping Students to improve upon their learning styles. To the teachers, it is believed that this study will help them to understand the different learning styles adopted by students and therefore use teaching methods that will enhance effective learning irrespective of the students’ learning styles. To the counselors, it will help in yielding a good basis for students counseling on self-discipline and the right attitude towards studies.
Following the findings of the study, Ministry of Education will have basis for organizing seminar for students on how to adopt and harness their learning styles. As a data bank, it is envisaged that this research work will serve as a store of information for future researchers who may wish to delve into the same area of study in future.