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A study of the cognitive styles and learning preferences of Fire Service officers

Wilson, Edwin L. (1999)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This research examines the relationship between Cognitive Style and Learning Styles of senior officers in the Fire Service and their preferences for different training delivery methods. Data has been gathered from students attending courses at the Fire Service College, in particular those attending the Divisional Command Course (DCC), which is a personal and professional development course for officers aspiring to a senior role in the Fire Service.
Three data gathering instruments were used in the research, the Cognitive Styles Analysis (CSA) (Riding, 1991), the Learning Styles Questionnaire (LSQ) (Honey & Mumford, 1982), and a questionnaire specifically designed to gather students’ preference ratings across a range of 14 training delivery methods.
The research examines the psychological and educational derivations of models that underpin the CSA and LSQ instruments in order to help clarify the construct systems used to describe both cognitive and learning style; and to examine their relationships with other psychological constructs.
Further exploration of the relationships between cognitive and learning styles attempts to answer the question as to whether they have similar attributes and also whether the instruments have any practical predictive utility in predicting suitable delivery methodologies for training.
The data findings suggest that the officer students formed a homogeneous group with regard to cognitive style on the ‘wholist–analytic’ dimension, the tendency for bias towards the analytic end of the scale, but were evenly distributed on the ‘verbaliser–imager’ dimension. The sample exhibited a more normal distribution of type with regard to learning style (using the LSQ), although there was a tendency for them to be more ‘reflector’ orientated than a standardized group in the general population.
The sample group showed preferences for certain delivery methods that encouraged interactive participation in the learning process but these did not appear to show any significant correlation with either cognitive style or learning style.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Riding, Richard
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Education
Department:School of Education
Additional Information:

The data appendices comprise two Excel workbooks in a zipped folder. Summary views are included in the main thesis file. Use of these appendices is at the discretion and risk of the user.

Keywords:Models of learning; information processing; cognitive development, cognitive style; learning style
Subjects:LB Theory and practice of education
LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:287
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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