The Role of Kolb's Learning Styles and Witkin's Cognitive Styles in Choosing Academic Courses
Students have different learning and cognitive styles characteristic strengths and preferences in the ways they take in and process information. Some students tend to focus on facts, data, and algorithms; others are more comfortable with theories and mathematical models. Some respond strongly to visual forms of information, like pictures, diagrams, and schematics;others get more from verbal forms written and spoken explanations. Some prefer to learn actively and interactively; others function more introspectively and individually. Felder (1996). The purpose of this research is to study the role of Kolb's learning styles (converger, diverger, assimilator, and accommodator) and Witkin's cognitive styles (field dependence and independence) in choosing academic courses of son Students.
Method: The research method is causative-comparative (Ex Post Facto). Three hundred Grade II high school, mathematical sciences course, empirical sciences course and human sciences course, zone 14, in Tehran education were randomly selected. In order to gather the data related to learning styles Kolb's learning styles inventory, LSI, and for cognitive styles Witkin's cognitive styles, Group Embedded Figures Test, GEFT, were used. For analyzing the data Chi square and ANOVA were used.
Results: The results showed that field independent individuals mostly lead to mathematical or empirical sciences courses and field dependent individuals to human sciences course. Also convergers and assimilators tend to mathematical or empirical sciences courses and divergers and accommodators mostly to human sciences course. Discussion: Because divergers and assimilators and field independences like analytical, mathematical, abstract matters and problem-solving choose mathematical or empirical sciences courses and learn the matters better. Also divergers and accommodators and field dependent students like global, concrete, informative and social matters choose human sciences course. So it is advised to specify student's cognitive and learning styles before going to university to be successful in their studies and not failing and declining in their academic studies.
Keywords: Learning Styles, Converger, Diverger, Assimilator, Accommodator, Cognitive Styles, Field Dependence-Independence
Dr. Alireza Homayouni
Professor, Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Bandargaz Branch
Dr. Parvin Kadivar
Professor and Researcher, Psychology, Teacher Training University