Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Patricia Davis-Wiley

Committee Members

Thomas Turner, Gary Skolits, Tanita Saenkhum

Abstract

This study investigated the type and the frequency of language learning strategies and perceptual learning style preferences among Saudi EFL college students. It was conducted to examine the relationship between the students’ perceptual learning style preferences and their use of various types of language strategies. The study also examined the influence of genders, academic disciplines and language proficiency levels on the students’ preferences to employ different language learning strategies.

Participants in the study were 667 EFL college students studying at Yanbu English Language Institute (YELI). Participants included 440 male and 227 female students who enrolled in the preparatory English program.

Data for the research study were elicited from two self-reported questionnaires, Oxford’s (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) and Reid’s (1995) Perceptual Learning Style Preference Questionnaire (PLSPQ). In addition, a questionnaire was administrated to gather background information about the participants.

Data received from the returned questionnaires were analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics including mean scores, standard deviations, frequency calculations for each category and items, t-tests and Pearson product-moment correlations.

Data analysis indicated that language strategies were moderately employed by participants, with metacognitive strategies being the most dominant learning strategy. The strategy categories were used in the following order: metacognitive, social, compensation, cognitive, memory and affective strategies. The overall dominant perceptual language style preferences were auditory and group. In addition, significant correlations were found between perceptual language learning styles and the use of language learning strategies. The strongest correlations existed between visual, auditory, kinesthetic styles and metacognitive strategies. No statistically significant differences were found between participants in using language strategies in either gender or in a particular academic major. However, females tended to employ strategies slightly more often than males, while technical and engineering participants used strategies slightly more often than those in nontechnical fields. There was a statistically significant difference between participants due to their proficiency levels in English in the use of strategy categories. Participants who were less proficient in English employed more affective strategies than did participants who had more advanced English proficiency levels.

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