Do Ten-year-old Children in Sweden Know How They Learn? A Study of How Young Students Believe They Learn Compared to Their Learning Styles Preferences

  •  Lena Boström    


Students’ individual learning strategies have been identified as important skills in order to succeed in school as well as important for lifelong learning. The Swedish steering documents are permeated by an epistemological and a methodological variation based on the individual student’s learning. Learning how to learn has been identified by the EU as one of eight key competences. There is not much research on elementary school students and meta-learning. This study is therefore aimed to examine these students’ own perceptions of their learning, and compare how student think that they learn to their learning styles preferences according to the learning styles assessment Learning Styles Inventory (LSI). The theoretical framework is based on previous Swedish research and Dunn’s Learning Styles Model. A multi-method design was selected. After the LSI-test the students estimated their preferences. Finally, interviews were conducted with 15 students. When comparing students’ learning styles profiles to their estimation of how they thought they learn, there was a clear discrepancy. The students estimated more preferences than was evident in the analysis. This applies above all to the perceptual strengths, and time of day. The smallest difference, however, was found in the environmental elements. The interviews showed that students have difficulties explaining how they learn. What the students pointed out, however, was their need to work in peace, learning by reading and working on the computer, and also varied learning environments. Their response on learning showed that they were building their insights on the school context and experience from there.

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