Approaches to Learning in the South Pacific region: A confirmatory factor analysis study

Year: 2006

Author: Bisun, Deo, Phan, Huy

Type of paper: Refereed paper

There has been substantial research evidence over the past three decades concerning the learning styles of students in both Western and non-Western contexts. In particular, it has been a decade since research in the South Pacific was conducted on the learning styles of tertiary students. The focus of the present research study was therefore to extend previous research studies, concerning the orientation of learning styles of Fijian and other Pacific Islands students enrolling in Educational Psychology at the University of the South Pacific. Biggs’ (1987) SPQ was revised to suit the Pacific social and cultural contexts before administering to 159 (87 females, 72 males) undergraduate students. Different confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) models were tested to investigate the possible multidimensionality of approaches to learning (SAL). Results clearly did not support the theoretical framework of a three-factor model (Biggs, 1987) and instead indicated the existence of a two first-factor model, emphasizing two major types of learning orientation – Reproducing and Meaning (Richardson, 1994). Our finding has important implications in the South Pacific region suggesting that educators should ensure that assessment and other teaching learning elements in the university system are constructively aligned to promoting the appropriate style of learning.