Learning Variables And Individual Differences In Student-Centred Learning

  • Marinela Granescu The Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
  • Ruxanda Literat The Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Keywords: individual differences, learning strategies, communication strategies, student-centred learning

Abstract

The need to focus teaching and the learning activities of a foreign language on the student demands a greater attention to be paid to those learning strategies, which would lead to a more effective communication as well as a clearer orientation of the teacher’s instructional design with respect to the individual differences among the class students. The paper aims at identifying variables that affect learning in order to produce more informed, educated and self-aware learners capable of adapting to any style of instruction and improving their own present and future language learning practices. In our experimental work carried out within Technical University of Cluj-Napoca we used methods that are believed to have a substantial impact on learning. The questionnaires we applied to our engineering students at different study levels were conceived with the purpose to see the way they perceive their learning strategies, the way they apply them, whether/how deep they are aware of their passing on towards specific communication strategies in the foreign language. The follow-up activities accomplished at different times within our research project allowed us to collect data relevant for the proposed aim, and made it possible to establish several learning variables, including learning and communication strategies, contributing to the student’s decision to take on the learning of a foreign language. The paper highlights the fact that the engineering students elaborate their own syllabus, which they do not always observe, produce systematic errors and make occasional mistakes, mirroring their learning effort while performing in English. The individual differences are determined by the students’ previous experience in learning a language, the level of knowledge of their mother tongue, personality traits, attitudes and motivation, level of intelligence, learning style, strategies applied, and sociological preferences. The individual differences which constitute variables to be considered in a student-centred learning approach are interrelated and influence the progress rate, performance and learning quality positively or negatively.

 

Author Biographies

Marinela Granescu, The Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Department of Modern Languages and Communication
Ruxanda Literat, The Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Department of Modern Languages and Communication
Published
2013-11-25