Background: A learner transitions from being a primary learner to an adolescent learner and further to an adult learner in his/her academic life. The learners exhibit specific learning behaviors at all stages of learning, the mapping of which is required for optimization of learning.
Primary Objective: To assess the product-centered learning behaviors in adolescent and adult learners using a validated learning behavior questionnaire.
Secondary Objectives: To develop a self-monitoring checklist and a Set, Train Your Mind, Apply, and Reinforce (STAR) matrix from the learning behavior questionnaire.
Material and Methods: It was a mixed-method analytical cross-sectional study. A total of 944 learners participated in the study, out of which 456 were adolescent learners (11-16 years) from an English-medium school (Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)) and 488 were adult learners (18-23 years) from a health professional institute. The quantitative component of the study was the validated learning behavior questionnaire, in which the study participants had to rate listed items on a scale of 0, 1, and 2. The qualitative component of the study was the focus group discussions (FGDs), which were conducted each for group of adolescent and adult learners. All the responses were tabulated and statistically analyzed using STATA-14 software.
Results: The mean scores of product-centered learning behaviors was significantly higher in adult learners as compared to adolescent learners. The findings of the qualitative component evaluated were in tune with the findings of the analysis of the learning behavior questionnaire. The self-monitoring checklist and STAR matrix were generated from the validated learning behavior questionnaire.
Conclusion: The evolved self-monitoring checklist and STAR matrix may aid in the assessment of learning behaviors and facilitate the inculcation of learning behaviors amongst adolescent and adult learners.
Learning is a continuous process, which commences at the birth of an individual and continues till their death. The process of learning involves information that is received through all five senses, processing of the received information and its assimilation in the brain based on beliefs, values, and willingness of the person .
The scientific study of learning commenced in the 20th century. John Dewey (1938-1997) was among the first scholars to propose his idea of holistic education to deal with the transforming economy and society .
The process of learning in any individual is governed by theories of learning. These theories of learning are age-specific and play an important role in how learning occurs in a learner. The precursors of learning theories have their origins in the past: they originated as philosophical thoughts as in ‘rationalism’ and ‘empiricism’ and concluded in psychological studies with ‘structuralism’ and ‘functionalism’, based on the research of Khalil MK et al. .
Theories of learning include the theories of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Behaviorist theories explain learning as a reaction to the environmental stimuli and impart a lot of importance to the association of the stimulus and the response. It also contends that responses followed by reinforcements are more likely to occur repeatedly. Cognitive theories of learning emphasize the acquisition of knowledge and processing of this acquired knowledge in the brain as the basis of learning. Acquisition of knowledge is regarded as a mental activity entailing coding and structuring by the learner who is an active participant . Constructivism theory propagates the idea that knowledge is built up by the experiences and interactions of the learner. Moving along the continuum of the behaviorist-cognitivist-constructivist theories of learning, the focus shifts from teaching to learning, from a passive learner to an active learner, and from the transfer of facts to the learner in a passive manner to the active application of knowledge by the learner .
The transition of a learner from adolescent to adult learner concerning learning behaviors can be aided by self-regulation and monitoring, particularly in the stage of adolescence. Hence, evolving a self-monitoring checklist shall be of great assistance to the learners to monitor their learning behaviors .
Multiple scales are available for teachers/facilitators and parents to assess the behavior of a learner. Self-monitoring scales are available for learners with special educational needs as well. However, the needs of learners, in general concerning self-monitoring of the learning behaviors, have been overlooked, and no scale is available for self-monitoring of learning behaviors by the learners themselves .
Hence, a self-monitoring checklist has been generated based on the learning behaviors to analyze the ‘product-centered learning behaviors’ based on the research question: Will a suitable self-monitoring checklist evolved for self-assessment of learning behaviors in adolescent and adult learners be convertible into a matrix for the inculcation of desirable learning behaviors in both the groups of learners?
Materials & Methods
Learners from Grades 6 to 10 (11-16 years) in an English-medium school (Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the learners from the first year to fourth year and interns (18-23 years) in a health professional institute were the study participants.
The study duration was of four years (March 2016- February 2020).
The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee of Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (Deemed to be University) vide letter with ref no: DMIMS (DU)/IEC/2015-16/1753 dated December 30, 2015. Informed consent of the parents/teachers as guardians of the adolescent learners and that of the adult learners in a health professional institute were obtained before the study. The adolescent and the adult learners were appraised of the motive for the research project. Participants were assured of the confidentiality of information.
This was a mixed-method analytical cross-sectional study.
The software used for sample size calculation was N Master V.2.0. Formula: σ = 32.4 (estimated standard deviation), d = 0.5 (desired precision), 𝛼 = 0.05 at 95% confidence level. As per the formula, the total sample size was 944 learners who were further divided into 456 under adolescent learners and 488 under adult learners. The 944 subjects that were included in the present study, after screening as study participants responded well and there were no drop-outs.
a. Adolescent learners from Grades 6 to 10 in an English-medium school (CBSE)
b. Age group: Between 11 and 16 years (both genders)
a. Adult learners from the first year to fourth year and interns in a health professional institute
b. Age group: Between 18 and 23 years (both genders)
Adolescent learners from Grades 6 to 10 in an English-medium school (CBSE) and adult learners from the first year to fourth year and interns in a health professional institute who were absent on three consecutive visits undertaken for the administration of the questionnaire.
The tool used in the current study was a learning behavior questionnaire. The questionnaire was initially formulated based on three domains of learning: the cognitive, the affective, and interpersonal domains. This included 15 statements to be rated on a 2-point scale. The above questionnaire was sent to experts in the fields of behavioral psychology and teaching-learning, for their views, opinions, and suggestions. Based on suggestions received, the questionnaire was formulated and administered to 20 learners of Grade 8, representing the adolescent learners, and 20 learners of fourth-semester MBBS, representing the adult learners with equal male and female participants. The statements that were found difficult to respond to were suitably modified. The modified questionnaire had acceptable Cronbach’s alpha values of 0.8. Further, the learning behavior questionnaire was tested on a stratified sample of 10 students from each grade of adolescent and adult learners for its relevance and applicability. In addition to these objective statements, the learning behavior questionnaire also had a qualitative component based on the perception of the learners wherein they had to rate the statements related to the learning behaviors in a preferential sequence. The validated version of the learning behavior questionnaire was administered to the study participants. The responses received were analyzed for identification and comparison of learning behaviors in both the study groups. The validated learning behavior questionnaire had product-centered learning behaviors which included 15 statements for behaviors linked with initiation, continuation, and completion of tasks under the sections goal setting, motivation, responsibility, and self-discipline (Table 1).
The validated learning behavior questionnaire was administered to all the learners in Grades 6 to 10 in the English-medium (CBSE) school and the adult learners from first to fourth years and interns of the health professional institute as per the inclusion criteria.
Two focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted, one each for the adolescent learners and the adult learners. The participants for the FGDs were selected through computer-generated randomization. Two representatives each from Grades 6 to 10 and first-year interns from the group of adolescent learners and adult learners were selected through this process.
All the responses received from the adolescent and adult learners for the learning behavior questionnaire were tabulated and statistically analyzed using STATA-14 software. Paired and Chi-square tests were carried out to determine the intra-group and inter-group variations and their significance.
Significant values were observed for quantitative components in adult learners for the product-centred learning behaviors of goal-setting, motivation, responsibility, and self-discipline (Table 2).
The number of participants with a rating of various items for the product scale (Pr) was 0, 1, and 2 in adolescent and adult learners. It was observed that the highest rating is 2 for Pr1, Pr3, Pr4, Pr5, Pr6, Pr7, Pr8, Pr11, Pr12, Pr13, and Pr15, which was significantly more among adult learners compared to adolescent learners (p<0.05). The mean difference between the product-centered learning behaviors was found to be significant in adult learners as compared to adolescent learners (Table 3).
The product-centered learning behaviors in the adolescent learners had mean scores of 8.33 (±2.35) for boys and 8.58 (±2.30) for girls. It is more than acceptable at p=0.05 that the difference in the mean scores is statistically non-significant at p=0.262. Similarly, in the adult learner group, the mean scores were 9.79 (±3.06) for males and 9.73 (±2.72) for females. At p=0.05, p=0.848 is more than acceptable; the difference in the mean scores is not statistically significant (Table 4).
Qualitative results based on the FGDs conducted for both the groups of adolescent and adult learners indicate the beliefs and opinions of learners. A comparison between the responses of adolescent and adult learners is listed in Table 5.
The self-monitoring checklist evolved out of this study can help the students in identifying and recording their shortcomings concerning their learning behaviors which could be rectified with the help of the matrix generated as a secondary objective of the present study (Table 6).
The Set, Train Your Mind, Apply, and Reinforce (STAR) matrix generated out of the current study, which is derived from the self-monitoring checklist, can be of use and utility for the adolescent and adult learners to inculcate desirable learning behaviors which shall aid to enhance their academic performance (Table 7).
The study's findings indicate that there is no statistically significant difference in learning habits between the adolescent and adult learners in terms of gender. The mean scores of product-centered learning behaviors was significantly higher in adult learners as compared to adolescent learners. The findings of the qualitative component were in tune with the findings of the analysis of the learning behavior questionnaire. A self-monitoring checklist for the monitoring of learning behaviors is developed with the observed findings of the quantitative and qualitative analysis. Based on the self-monitoring checklist, the STAR matrix is evolved which may help the adolescent and adult learners in the inculcation of desirable learning behaviors.
The academic performance of a learner is often decided by the learning behavior displayed by him/her in the classroom environment. Research indicates that learning behaviors can be depicted by various descriptors which have been used in the studies related to learning theories and learning behaviors . Learning behaviors and analysis thereto is much more complicated and hence there is a paucity of literature related to learning behavior. Therefore, there is a need to analyze the construct of learning behavior.
Earlier in the year 2004, a systematic review was published by Powell and Tod in which learning behaviors were identified based on descriptors used by researchers in 46 studies and classified them as ‘product-centered, ‘participation-centered', and ‘person-centered' learning behaviors . This systematic review brought forth the strong relationship between ‘self’, ‘curriculum’, and ‘others’ as a basis for effective learning.
With the changing trends and education policies, it is now vital to encourage self-monitoring of learning behaviors to motivate the learners for the inculcation of desirable learning behaviors which will help them in taking necessary remedial measures to improve them. Therefore, a self-monitoring questionnaire was generated to target the adolescent and adult learners.
Amirtha Mary et al. studied the learning behavior of rural, semi-urban, and urban students of Grade 9 and found the existence of a positive low relationship between learning behavior and academic achievement of students . The study by Halil Asci et al. in 2016 studied the correlations across study behaviors and learning styles and found that collaborative learning can improve students’ understanding of pharmacological principles. However, gender does not seem to have any significant effect on these associations in the said group . The finding of our study is in agreement with the results of the above-mentioned studies wherein no correlation was found with gender.
There is a paucity of data where there is a cumulative evaluation of the different parameters of learning behaviors. However, studies are found where the only assessment of individual learning behaviors is done but its impact and its application are missing. Hence, this study was planned to have a data and analysis along with the outcome to fulfill the translatory component of the study.
In the present study, the analysis of responses to product-centered learning behaviors brings out one major variation in the thought of adult and adolescent learners. Most adult learners believed that intrinsic motivation as a result of received appreciation and encouragement helps them to learn in a better way, which is in contrast with the adolescents who gave importance to the encouragement from teachers, parents, and peers. The observations also bring out the fact that the behavior of self-discipline in breaking down goals has improved in adult learners as compared to adolescent learners. As compared to other learning behaviors, self-discipline was found to be dull and uninteresting.
Analysis of the learning behaviors in adolescent and adult learners suggested that both groups of learners show a continuum of learning behaviors, though their perceptions about the process of learning may vary. This also goes to suggest that if the adolescent learners are monitored for learning behaviors during their adolescence, it is more likely that they would consciously try to inculcate the desirable learning behaviors which in turn would help in improved academic performance
The current study presents a self-monitoring checklist for learning behaviors exhibited by adolescent and adult learners. Checklists are available for learners to self-monitor their preparedness for classroom activities and other social behaviors like respecting others, especially for learners with special learning needs.
Self-monitoring is known to improve the learners’ behavior by monitoring, recording, and modifying their behavior to what is desired . The checklist features the desirable product-centered learning behaviors for self-assessment of the said learning behaviors by the learners themselves. This may help the learners identify the shortcomings of their learning behaviors.
Self-monitoring interventions have been implemented for increasing on-task behaviors and enhancing academic performance and social behaviors. Studies in regards to self-monitoring have not been conducted in general classroom settings. Self-monitoring procedures can be of more help to the adolescent learner. However, many of the intervention studies in schools have younger children as their focus [12,13].
Additionally, while self-monitoring procedures hold promise for adolescents, the majority of intervention studies supporting self-monitoring interventions in school settings have focused on younger students below 12 years of age . Although early intervention is critical in the improvement of academic and behavioral performance for learners, including those with special needs, the development of interventions for adolescents is necessary especially for the prevention of failures. The usage of technology-supported intervention in the form of tablets or handheld devices was found to be motivating to the learners and thus greater possibility of being used for self-monitoring .
Goal setting is one of the learning behaviors included in the product-centered learning behaviors. Research studies show that goal setting is an important learning behavior that, if put in practice, yields dividends. The current study found that the scores for the setting of specific goals, breakdown of goals into achievable steps, and organization of time to achieve the set goals are significant in adult learners as compared to adolescent learners. A correlational study by Murayama and Elliot also found that emphasis on mastery of goal orientation leads to higher intrinsic motivation in learners leading to higher performance . A study of struggling college students by Morisano et al. in 2010 found that learners who participated in a four-month goal-setting intervention exhibited lesser academic anxiety and higher grades .
The second behavior studied in the category of product-centered learning behavior was responsibility. The findings of this study suggest that the learning behavior of responsibility shows a significant change in adult learners when compared to adolescent learners. Research indicates that inculcation of responsibility towards learning leads to self-regulating behaviors, which eventually lead to better academic achievement. This behavior was studied by Keith Michelle et al. in learners of Grade 7 in three schools from different communities in the midwest . These learners were involved in a program designed for improving learners responsibility towards their learning and behavior. The present study proved the importance of owning the responsibility of learning by the learners themselves, resulting in self-motivation, which consequently helps in improving their academic performance.
Another learning behavior, motivation, is of paramount importance in the process of learning. Awards, rewards, punishments, and sanctions are examples of extrinsic motivational factors. Motivation was examined in the current study and it was found that the mean score for this behavior was statistically significant in the adult learners as compared to the adolescent learners. The finding suggests that adult learners are highly motivated intrinsically as compared to adolescent learners who are motivated due to extrinsic factors such as rewards and awards. Similar results were found by Tokan et al. and Lisa Legault [19,20].
The fourth behavior included in the product-centered learning behaviors is the behavior of self-discipline. This study found that the learning behavior of self-discipline was significantly higher in adult learners when compared to adolescent learners. The study by Yue Gong revealed the impact of self-discipline on learners' knowledge and learning, and it was found that self-discipline influences both the rate of learning as well as the accumulation of knowledge over the period. When the relationship between students’ self-discipline with their knowledge was analyzed, it was found that learners with high self-discipline had significantly higher initial knowledge . The findings of our study are in tune with the findings of the above-mentioned research study.
The findings of the present study are noteworthy and imply that self-monitoring can be effectively used for monitoring the learning behaviors of learners in a general classroom. The self-monitoring checklist evolved from the current study for learners is based on the product-centered learning behaviors which could be of use in monitoring the same in adolescent and adult learners.
The self-monitoring checklist for adolescent and adult learners offers the following advantages:
1. It addresses the need for self-monitoring, enabling the assessment of the learning behaviors of learners in a classroom setting.
2. It helps to identify the inadequacies of a learner concerning his/her learning behaviors.
3. The self-monitoring checklist aids and facilitates the transition of an adolescent learner into an adult learner through self-regulation in terms of self-monitoring.
4. The learners become more aware of their learning behaviors and inadequacies if any thereto which aids and facilitates them to evaluate and appropriately modify to improve their learning behaviors.
5. The ability of the learners to self-monitor would make the learners motivated, catering to the cause of their development into an independent learner.
6. The matrix can be used for determining the existing scenario for an institution, and it can be also used as a point of initiation .
7. The STAR matrix generated in this study is based on the self-monitoring checklist which will facilitate desirable learning behaviors in adolescent and adult learners.
Studies should be undertaken to evaluate the utility of the evolved self-monitoring checklist in the inculcation of the appropriate product-centered learning behaviors in adolescent and adult learners;
Evolution of a self-monitoring standardized scale for assessment of learning behaviors in adolescent and adult learners. Development of an android app for handy usage by the learners. Multi-centric studies should be taken up to evaluate the learning behaviors in different settings and age groups.
Limitations of the present study
This study is limited to an English-medium CBSE school and health professions institute in Nagpur, Maharashtra. The study has been carried out for adolescent and adult learners en-block. However, grade-wise, age-wise, person-wise, and subject-wise studies could be of greater help in knowing about the learning behaviors and their transition in the learners as against the desirable outcome.
Learning behavior is a complex construct that cannot be defined and appears to have emerged from the triad of relationships of the learner with self, curriculum, and others (inclusive of parents, teachers, and peers). Learning behaviors have been described by researchers with the help of descriptors like engagement, collaboration, participation, communication, motivation, and many others. Self-monitoring these behaviors helps to identify the inadequacies which are recorded and accordingly are availed for modifying the learning behavior by generating a STAR matrix that would help learners to self-evaluate.
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Evaluation of a Product-Centered Learning Behaviors for Adolescent and Adult Learners Using a Validated Learning Behavior Questionnaire: A Mixed-Method Analytical Cross-Sectional Study
Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures
Human subjects: Consent was obtained or waived by all participants in this study. Institutional Ethics Committee of Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (Deemed to be University) issued approval DMIMS (DU)/IEC/2015-16/1753. Animal subjects: All authors have confirmed that this study did not involve animal subjects or tissue. Conflicts of interest: In compliance with the ICMJE uniform disclosure form, all authors declare the following: Payment/services info: All authors have declared that no financial support was received from any organization for the submitted work. Financial relationships: All authors have declared that they have no financial relationships at present or within the previous three years with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work. Other relationships: All authors have declared that there are no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.
Cite this article as:
Bhise N, Mishra V, Pisulkar S, et al. (July 17, 2022) Evaluation of a Product-Centered Learning Behaviors for Adolescent and Adult Learners Using a Validated Learning Behavior Questionnaire: A Mixed-Method Analytical Cross-Sectional Study. Cureus 14(7): e26954. doi:10.7759/cureus.26954
Received by Cureus: June 15, 2022
Peer review began: June 24, 2022
Peer review concluded: July 01, 2022
Published: July 17, 2022
© Copyright 2022
Bhise et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.