Investigating the Relationship between Learning Styles and ESP Reading Strategies in Academic Setting

Parviz Ajideh, Mohammad Zohrabi, Kazem Pouralvar


The present study investigated the relationship between Art and Science students’ learning styles and their ESP reading strategies in academic settings. Learning styles are defined as general orientations learners take toward their learning experiences. This notion has recently obtained attention in the area of language learning. Strategies are also defined as specific behaviours or techniques learners employ towards leaning in order to achieve their learning goals. The strategies chosen are often linked to the individual's learning style. The purpose of this study was to identify Art and Science students’ major learning style preferences and their strategies they employ to tackle their reading materials in ESP courses at Tabriz Islamic Art University. To this end, 313 Art and Science students at Tabriz Islamic Art University answered two self-report questionnaires (PLSPQ and SORS) to identify their major and minor learning styles as well as their reading strategies in ESP reading. In order to find any relationship between the students’ preferred learning style (s) and their reading strategies in ESP, Pearson Product Moment Coefficient r was used to analyze the participants’ answers to the questionnaires. The results showed that Art students favored Kinesthetic, Auditory, Visual and Tactile learning styles as their major learning styles while Science students showed preference to only Kinesthetic Learning style as their major learning style and other learning styles as their minor ones. It was also found that the most dominant reading strategies both Art and Science students apply in reading their ESP texts was cognitive strategies. Correlational analyses of their major learning styles and their reading strategies are discussed.


learning styles, reading strategies, ESP, PLSPQ, SORS

Full Text:



Ajideh, P., Gholami, V. (2014).Learning styles as predicators of students’ test performance.English Language Teaching,(1)3, 1-17.

Banisaeid, M., & Huang, J. (2015). Exploring Iranian EFL learners’ perceptual learning styles preferences, language learning strategy uses and self-regulated learning strategies. International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature.3(3), 30-40.

Barzegar, F., &Tajjali, Gh. (2013).Relationship between learning styles of advanced Iranian EFL learners and their achievement. Journal of Studies in Learning and Teaching English.1(4), 1-21.

Chavosh, M., &Davoudi, M. (2016).The relationship between perceptual learning styles and reading comprehension performance of Iranian EFL learners.International Journal of English Linguistics.6(3), 61-69.

Cohen, A. D. (2003). The learner's side of foreign language learning: where do styles, strategies, and tasks meet? IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 41(4), 279e291.

Dudley-Evans, T. & Jo st John, M. (1998).Developments in English for specific purposes.Cambridge University Pess.

Dunn, R., & Griggs, S. (2003). Synthesis of the Dunn and Dunn learning styles model research: Who, what, when, where and so what–the Dunn and Dunn learning styles model and its theoretical cornerstone. St. Johns University, New York.

Ehrman, M., & Leaver, B. L. (2003).Cognitive styles in the service of language learning.System, 31(3), 393.

Ehrman, M. & Oxford, R.(1990). Adult language learning styles and strategies in an intensive training setting." The Modern Language Journal 74(3), 311-327.

Ehrman, M. E., & Oxford, R. L. (1991). Affective survey. Arlington, VA: Foreign Service Institute.

Ehrman, M. E., & Oxford, R. L. (1995). Cognition plus: Correlates of language learning success. Modern Language Journal, 79(1), 67-89.

Jowkar, M. (2012). The relationship between perceptual learning style preferences and listening comprehension strategies of Iranian intermediate EFL learners.Academic Research International.2(2), 739-745.

Kinsella, K. (1995). Understanding and empowering diverse learners in the ESL classroom. In J. Reid (Ed.), Learning styles in the ESL/EFL classroom (pp. 170-194). Boston, MA: Heinle&Heinle.

Li, W. (2013). Development and Application of Transcripts in Experiential and Web-mediated ESP Learning.International Journal of Engineering Research and Development.(6)5, 30-34.

Mollaei, F., Rahnama, H.R. (2012).Experiential education contributing to language learning.International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. (2) 21, 268-279

Moradkhani, D., &Mirtaheri, S. (2011). The relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ perceptual; learning styles and their teachers’ teaching styles.Journal of English Studies.1(4) 41-52.

Naserieh, F., &Anani, M. R. (2013). Perceptual learning style preferences among Iranian graduate students. System 41(1), 122-133.

Oxford, R. L. (2001a). Language learning strategies. In R. Carter & D. Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages (pp. 166-172). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oxford, R. L. (2001b). Language learning styles and strategies. In M. Celce-Murcia (Ed.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (pp. 359-366). Boston: Heinle& Heinle.

Oxford, R. L. (2002). Language learning strategies in a nutshell: Update and ESL suggestions. In J. C. Richards & W. A. Renandya (Eds.), Methodology in language teaching: An anthology of current practice (pp. 124-132). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oxford, R. L., & Anderson, N. J. (1995). A crosscultural view of learning styles.Language Teaching, 28, 201-215.

Prabhu, N. S. (1987). Second language pedagogy.Oxford University Press.

Reid, J. (1987). The learning style preferences of ESL students.TESOL Quarterly, 21(1), 87-111.

Reid, J. (1990). The dirty laundry of ESL survey research.TESOL Quarterly, 24(2), 323-338.

Reid, J. (1995). Learning styles in the ESL/EFL classroom. Boston: Heinle&Heinl Publications

Reid, J. (1996). A learning styles unit for the intermediate ESL/EFL writing classroom.TESOL Journal, 6(1), 42-47.

Reid, J. M. (1984). Perceptual learning style preference questionnaire. Laramie: University of Wyoming, Department of English.

Riding, R. J., &Rayner, S. (1998). Cognitive styles and learning strategies: Understanding style differences in learning and behaviour. London: D. Fulton Publishers.

Rossi-Le, L. (1995).Learning styles and strategies in adult immigrant ESL students. In J. M. Reid (Ed.), Learning styles in the ESL/EFL classroom (pp. 118-125). New York: Heinle.

Rossi-Le, L. (1989).Perceptual learning style preferences and their relationship to language learning strategies in adult students of English as a second language. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Drake University, Des Moines.

Sahraghard, R., Khajavi, Y., Abbasian, R. (2014). Field of study, learning styles, and language learning strategies of university students: Are there any relations? Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 10(3), 255-271.

Sheorey, R., &Mokhtari, K. (2001). Differences in the metacognitive awareness of reading strategies among native and non-native readers. System, 29(4), 431-449.

Tarnopolsky, O. (2012). Constructivist blended learning approach to teaching English for specific purposes. Versita Ltd. London.

Widdowson, H. (1983). Learning purpose and language use. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.