Literature Review Chapter: Perceptual Learning Style Preference

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[. . .] There are several instruments among them, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) created to assess a person's major preferences for processing and perceiving information. Such self-report instruments hold four dimensions, which include extraversion vs. introversion. Extraversion centers on the perception of the external world of objects and individuals while introversion focuses on the perception of the internal world of ideas and concepts. The second dimension of the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator is sensing vs. intuition where sensing refers to the realistic or practical focus on procedures and facts. Intuition, on the other hand, refers to imaginative, concept-oriented focus on possibilities and meanings (Alumran, 2008). Thinking vs. feeling focuses on the propensity to make decisions that are based on rules and logic while feeling refers to the propensity to makes decisions founded on humanistic and personal considerations. Judging verse-perceiving dimension in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) focuses on setting and following agendas with perceiving centering on being flexible or the ability to adapt to changing situations. The MBTI was used to examine types of personality and learning strategies in an intensive foreign language-learning program in the United States.

Learning Style and Gender

According to Tran (2008), there are major disparities in the manner in which boys and girls learn. These differences are significant than the disparities in age, and the differences are great among younger learners. Tran (2008) asserts that there are gender-based personality characteristics that influence how a child learns. In 1970s, and 1980s, people assumed that gender disparities in personality were constructed socially with numerous psychologists during this period claiming that gender disparities would disappear if children were brought up differently. However, in the contemporary world, educational psychologists have discovered that girls hold higher principles in classroom and they outdo boys in academic work in all age groups and subjects. Given that girls perform well than boys in school, people might think that they are more confident and hold increased academic self-esteem.

However, girls perform well in schools because they exceptionally assess their academic performance while boys hold impractically high estimates for their academic accomplishments and abilities. Tran (2008) claims that while invoking socialcultural interpretations for gender disparities, some scholars seem to consider gender-differentiated learning strategies and styles as immutable, unchanged and fixed. Tran (2008) further claims that making generalizations concerning the link between learning styles and strategies and gender is problematic in the perspective of foreign and second language learning because learners come from groups of differential cultural, racial, ethnic and social groups where interaction between learning styles and gender vary. Tran (2008) cites a study where females demonstrated positive mindset towards learning a second language.

Women and men learn divergent communicative styles (Alumran, 2008). Males' analytical, literacy and organization skills are weaker compared to those of females resulting to their academic under-performance. According to Tran (2008), gender identity show more of different in learning styles compared to biological gender alone. Girls use more memorization, rehearsing strategies, and they depend on their instructors for their learning procedures. Girls perceive learning as taking in understanding. In contrast, boys are more uncertain regarding their own learning procedures, and they lack a sense of organization.

Disparities in learning styles between gender identity groups do not differ with respect to their teachers, but disparities in learning style differ based on the subject being taught. The form of learning style employed by students is dependent on the subject being taught. Tran (2008) asserts that there are disparities in the employment of learning style across different age groups. He further confirms that learning style across ethnic and gender differ across subject studies. Identifying learner's learning style preferences is important in creating intervention programs to deal with student's learning needs. Learning styles are affected through earlier learning experiences and prospects in classroom and in homes.

Learning style of Arab Students

Every student is different, and this uniqueness makes great differences regarding how students learn and how they are instructed. Students learn through different means and through different learning styles, and they adopt unique learning strategies. As a result, teachers must understand this general fact and modify teaching strategies and styles to fit every student's need. Learning style is based on several factors among them society and student's culture, past learning practices, age and emotional intelligence and individual character. According to Nordquist (2010), concrete-sequential learning styles as opposed to intuitive-random styles seem to be supported by cultures such as Arab and Asian. Concrete-sequential learning styles stresses on memorization. Some language teachers refer to these learning styles as plagiarism, but they are not viewed as so in Arab nations (Nordquist, 2010). Many Arab and Asian students hold a closure-oriented style. For example, Korean learners insist that the instructor be the major figure that offers a single correct answer, Japanese students usually prefers constant and quick correction while Arabic-speaking students see things in right or wrong terms (Nordquist, 2010).

Even sensory learning styles that are auditory, kinesthetic, visual and tactile are culturally connected. For instance, Korean students are the most visual than Japanese and American students. Chinese and Arab students are powerfully visual. Arab students among Spanish, Thai, Malay, and Chinese are auditory. Arab students are also highly kinesthetic (Nordquist, 2010). Nordquist (2010) stresses that culture plays a crucial role in molding one's learning styles.

Learning Style in Learning Second Language

Second language acquisition refers to the process through which individuals learn a second language besides their native languages. However, a difference is usually made amid foreign language and second language with foreign language being learned for use in a place where that particular language is not commonly spoken. Second language learning procedure can be effectively sequenced and categorized in cognitive terms through signal learning, stimulus-response learning, chaining, concept learning, principle learning and problem solving. According to Hinkel (2013), perfect teachers must understand learner's style and the different strategies employed in these styles. Instructors must accommodate learners to facilitate their progress in their practice of learning language. Learners must be taught how to self-asses their learning strategies and styles. Henkel (2013) confirms that learners in second language setting compared to those in foreign language environment employ different learning styles and strategies. Second language learners use more metacognitive learning strategies than the foreign language learners do while foreign language learners use more cognitive strategies compared to second language learners.

Learning Styles in EFL

Learning style refers to the manner through which a student learns best, and it entails the selected method of organizing, taking in and making sense out of given information. A study carried out by Chen & Hung (2012) indicated EFL students preferred auditory and kinesthetic learning styles while EFL teachers preferred kinesthetic, auditory and group learning styles. Both teachers and learners did not prefer individual styles and tactile styles. Results from Chen & Hung (2012) study indicated most EFL learners prefer social strategies compared to any other learning strategy. Strategies used mostly by EFL are compensation strategies where students use these strategies to overcome constraints in their existing knowledge. Compensation strategies include guessing the meaning of unrecognizable words while listening or reading besides utilizing gestures to signal their meaning when substituting synonyms when writing and speaking. High use of compensation strategies is typical for EFL learners. The study also indicated that Taiwanese EFL learners use compensation strategies besides concluding that employment of compensation learning strategies was representative of students of Asian origin.


According to Vaseghi & Gholami (2012), students' learning styles influences EFL learning and second language learning. However, students' learning styles may be affected by past learning practice, culture and genetic composition. Some students may be comfortable with mathematical theories and models while others may be comfortable with facts and data. Some learners are visual and they prefer to learn through charts and graphics while others prefer spoken explanations. Learning styles hold great effects on the process of education and the performance of students. Perceptual learning styles employed by most teachers and students allow learners to use one or more sense to comprehend, structure and retain experience. Learners have four perceptual learning channels, which are visual learning, auditory learning, kinesthetic learning and tactile learning. However, students favor some of these perceptual learning styles and disfavor others. In this regard, instructors should consider the disparities in learning styles among learners to enhance successful learning.


Ahmad, A. (2011). Language learning style preferences of Low English proficiency (LEP)

students in a tertiary institution. Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, 7 (2), 33-62.

Alumran, J. (2008.) Learning styles in relation to gender, field of study, and academic achievement for Bahraini University students. Individual Differences Research 6(4), 303-

Chen, M., & Hung, L. (2012). Personality type, perceptual style preferences and strategies for learning English as a foreign language. Social Behavior & Personality: An International

Journal, 40 (9), 1501-1510.

Garbriel, K. (2008). Teaching unprepared students: Strategies for promoting success and retention in higher education. New… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Perceptual Learning Style Preference.  (2013, August 28).  Retrieved June 19, 2019, from

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