How Students Learn: Examining the Differences in Learning Strategies between Flight and Nonflight Students

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The purpose of this study was to determine if there were any differences in learning strategies between undergraduate flight and nonflight students attending a 4-year university that offered a Part 141 flight training program. Learning strategies were measured using Panadero et al.’s (2021) 30-item Deep Learning Strategies Questionnaire and its four subscales—Basic Learning Self-Regulation Strategies, Visual Elaboration and Summarizing Strategies, Deep Information Processing Strategies, and Social Learning Self-Regulation Strategies—all of which were the dependent variables. The primary independent variable was group membership, but the study also incorporated two covariates—self-efficacy and intrinsic value— which were measured using the respective subscales of Pintrich and DeGroot’s (1990) Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. Additional factors included various participants’ demographics and self-reported responses to a set of questions related to participants’ study habits modeled after Niemczyk (2008). These factors were not included in data analysis but instead were used for sample representativeness with respect to generalizability and to provide insight into participants’ self-regulation approaches to learning, respectively. The sample size was N = 144.

Using a hierarchical multiple regression strategy, the results of data analysis confirmed that the respective ANCOVA models were valid for each dependent variable and that the covariates accounted for a significant amount of explained variance in each case. The increment in explained variance made by group membership in the presence of the covariates, however, was not significant across all five DVs, and hence no significant differences in learning strategies between flight and nonflight students were found. Supplementary analyses also revealed there were no significant differences between groups with respect to their learning strategies (a) across the three targeted universities, (b) when the covariates were treated as DVs, (c) with respect to participants’ demographics, and (d) with respect to course type (flight/aviation-related courses vs. nonflight/nonaviation-related courses). These results notwithstanding, flight students’ average scores across the five DVs were higher than nonflight students’ scores, and this might have practical significance with respect to informing curricula.


Florida Institute of Technology


Melbourne, FL




College of Aeronautics


This is Dr. Jennifer A. Torres's dissertation, completed at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) towards a Doctor of Aviation (AvD) degree.

Copyright held by the author.