The role of critical thinking skills and learning styles of university students in their academic performance
Introduction: The current world needs people who have a lot of different abilities such as cognition and application of different ways of thinking, research, problem solving, critical thinking skills and creativity. In addition to critical thinking, learning styles is another key factor which has an essential role in the process of problem solving. This study aimed to determine the relationship between learning styles and critical thinking of students and their academic performance in Alborz University of Medical Sciences.
Methods: This cross-correlation study was performed in 2012, on 216 students of Alborz University who were selected randomly by the stratified method. The data was obtained via a three-part questionnaire included demographic data, Kolb standardized questionnaire of learning style and California critical thinking standardized questionnaire. The academic performance of the students was extracted by the school records. The validity of the instruments was determined in terms of content validity, and the reliability was gained through internal consistency methods. Cronbach's alpha coefficient was found to be 0.78 for the California critical thinking questionnaire. The Chi Square test, Independent T-test, one way ANOVA and Pearson Correlation test were used to determine relationship between variables. The Package SPSS14 statistical software was used to analyze data with a significant level of p<0.05.
Results: Our findings indicated the significant difference of mean score in four learning style, suggesting university students with convergent learning style have better performance than other groups. Also learning style had a relationship with age, gender, field of study, semester and job. The results about the critical thinking of the students showed that the mean of deductive reasoning and evaluation skills were higher than that of other skills and analytical skills had the lowest mean and there was a positive significant relationship between the students’ performance with inferential skill and the total score of critical thinking skills (p<0.05). Furthermore, evaluation skills and deductive reasoning had significant relationship. On the other hand, the mean total score of critical thinking had significant difference between different learning styles.
Conclusion: The results of this study showed that the learning styles, critical
thinking and academic performance are significantly associated with one
another. Considering the growing importance of critical thinking in enhancing the professional competence of individuals, it's recommended to use teaching methods consistent with the learning style because it would be more effective in this context.
Keywords: Learning, Performance, Student
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