Patterns in Student Learning: Relationships Between Learning Strategies, Conceptions of Learning, and Learning Orientations

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This paper reviews the research conducted in the last decade on patterns in student learning, mostly in higher education. More specifically, the review focuses on a series of studies that have in common (a) the use of the Inventory of Learning Styles (ILS), an instrument aimed at measuring several components of student learning, namely, cognitive processing strategies, metacognitive regulation strategies, conceptions of learning, and learning orientations; and/or (b) an integrative learning theory focussing on the interplay between self-regulation and external regulation of learning processes as a theoretical framework. Aspects a and b are closely connected, because the development of the instrument was based on the theory. The review covers the following themes: The theoretical framework and conceptualization of student learning; a description of the instrument; the internal structure of learning strategies, conceptions, and orientations in different educational contexts; developments in learning patterns during the school career; consistency and variability in students' use of learning strategies; dissonance in students' regulation of learning processes; relations between learning patterns and personal and contextual factors; relations between learning patterns and learning outcomes; and process-oriented instruction.

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