Learning Strategies and Academic Performance of Students in Physical and Health Education
This study examined learning strategies and academic performance of Physical and Health Education students in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. Three null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. Survey research design was adopted. A sample of one hundred Physical and Health Education students were selected using simple random sampling technique.
Learning Strategies Classification Questionnaire (LSCQ) and Students’ Physical and Health Education Achievement Test (SPHEAT) were used as instruments for data collection. The data collected were subjected to statistical analysis using t-test. The results of the analysis revealed that there is a significant difference in academic performance between deep learners and surface learners. This was evident in calculated t-value of 6.63 for deep learners against a critical t-value of 1.99 for surface learners.
Equally, there are significant differences between the mean achievement scores of male deep and male surface learners and their female counterparts with calculated t-values of 5.17 and 4.12 against critical t-values of 2.01 and 2.02, respectively. It was therefore recommended among others that students should adopt deep learning strategy in the learning of Physical and Health Education in order to improve in their academic performance.
Learning Strategies and Academic Performance of Students in Physical and Health Education
1.1 Background to the Study
It is known that learning process vary from person to person due to the presence of biological and psychological differences. Pack (2008) points out that more than three fifth of the person’s learning strategies is biologically imposed, and that each person is born with certain tendencies towards particular strategies, but these biologically or inherited characteristics are influenced by culture, personal experiences, maturity level and development.
Gohdes (2005) held that most teachers teach the way they were taught. This might have caused the frustration of a good number of learners as they witness that their performances are not accounted for by many teachers. The case is more serious in a context where students come from diverse educational experiences and with different cultural background.
Compared to the extensive work done on methods and instructional activities, one vital area often neglected is the exploration of learning strategies in the classroom standard learning ability. Researchers have pointed out that learning ability or techniques among students contribute positively or negatively to their level of academic performance. Students do not learn in t he same way and a number of different learning strategies exist (Entwistle & Ramsden, 2007; 2008).
Bigg and Moore (1993) identified three approaches to learning used by secondary and tertiary school students. These are: surface, deep and achieving approaches.
Surface (passive) learning strategies involved simply scraping the surface of the materials being studied, without carrying out any deep processing of the materials. Students who adopt such approaches tend to work according to the following general pattern:
– Concentrate purely on assessment requirement s.
– Accept information and ideas passively.
– Memorize facts and procedures routinely
– Ignore guiding principles or pattern
– Fail to reflect on underlying purpose or strategies
Deep (active) learners on the other hand, are those students who adopt a deep approach to their learning. They make a serous attempt to turn other peoples’ ideas into their own personalized structure of knowledge. They tend to work according to the following general pattern:
– Endeavour to understand material for themselves
– Interact vigorously and critically with contents
– Related ideas to previous knowledge and experience.
– Use organizing principles to integrate ideas
– Relating evidence to condition
– examine the topic of arguments
Students who adopt achieving approach come from the “ego trip that comes from achieving mark” (Bigg & Moore, 1993; Flick & Hammond, 2001). Achievers choose strategies which will give them the best rewards from the teacher and the highest marks, so they strategize depending on the task and situation. According to Appleton and Beasley (1994) there is an element of efficiency in their choice, which can involve either deep or surface approach.
Biggs (2007) held that students can change their approaches to learning according to demands of each situation, and the extent to which the change occurs is affected by each student’s disposition and the events in the classroom. Biggs (1994) and Gibbs (1992) had listed the factors affecting students’ approach to learning to include: students’ awareness to task demand, teachers’ style of teaching, level of students’ intellectual development and nature of assessment.
In the school system, the level of achievement of the student s is to a great extent influenced by individual learning strategies. According to Fielder (2004), students whose learning strategies are compatible with the teaching style of a subject teacher, have a more positive attitude towards the subject and are likely to achieve higher academically.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Students have different learning strategies but they are being treated equally. This has made them find their study less interesting. Consequently, learners with special learning abilities end up performing poorly in their course of study.
Reasons for poor academic performance of students have tended to what teachers do or do not do in the classroom as well as institutional factors while students’ learning strategies received little attention.
The problem of this study is therefore, to investigate the learning strategies used by senior secondary students in their study of physical and health education and whether such learning strategies are in anyway related to their academic performance.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The aim of this study is to examine learning strategies and their influence on academic performance of physical and health education students.
Specifically, it is:
- To identify learning strategies used by students in the study of physical and Health education in Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
- To determine the differences in the academic performance of students on the basis of their learning strategies in physical and health education in Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
- To ascertain whether students who are surface or deep learners differ in their academic performance on the basis of gender.
1.4 Research Questions
This study will attempt to provide answer to the following research questions:
- What learning strategies do students in physical and health education in Oruk Anam Local Government Area belong?
- Is there any difference between the academic performance of students who are surface learners and those who are deep learners?
iii. Is there any difference in the academic performance of deep learners on the basis of gender?
- Is there any difference in the academic performance of surface learners on the basis of gender?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide this study:
- There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students who are surface learners and those who are deep learners.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of deep learners on the basis of gender.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of surface learners on the basis of gender.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study may be of immense benefit to science teachers, parents, students, policy makers in government and guidance counsellors.
- To practicing teachers the findings may create awareness of the prevalence of different learning strategies among students. This may help them to tailor their instructional strategies towards matching such learning strategies for meaningful and functional learning.
- Knowledge of the various learning strategies may help students to develop positive attitude towards effective learning strategies that will help them to improve on their academic performance.
- It may inform science education policy makers on the need to emphasize on and encourage government to provide funding for teaching and learning strategies that facilitate meaningful and functional learning in physical and health education.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
This study was restricted to:
- Two learning strategies namely; surface (passive) and deep (active) learning strategies.
- Junior secondary 2 physical and health education students in public secondary schools in Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
Learning strategies are not the only variables that can influence academic performances. Such other variables as teaching strategy, interest of students in, attitude of students towards, home, classroom and school factors etc. not considered in this study may contribute to the expected outcome of the study. The study only sampled four out of eight public schools while private schools were left out. This may affect the generalizability of the result findings.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Academic performance: The way or manner a student is outstanding in his or her academic activities. This is measured by achievement score in physical and health education.
Learning strategies: Jegede and Novak (1990) defined learning strategies as behaviours and thoughts that a learners engage in during learning and that is intended to influence the learners encoding process.
Visual/Verbal Learning strategies: Visual learners are those who find it easiest to remember what they read or view.
Auditory Learning Strategies: Auditory learners are those who find it easiest to remember what they hear.
Kinesthetic learning strategies: This is the method whereby students express themselves through movement and dance.
Surface learning strategies: The surface learner is trying to “suss out” what the teacher wants and to provide it, and is likely to be motivated primarily by fear of failure.
Deep learning strategies: Deep learners are those learners in which students are engaging and learning the materials motivated by sincere interest and a desire to truly know.