V. Županec1, N. Antonić2, S. Babić-Kekez3, T. Miljanović1, B. Radulović4, T. Pribićević1

1University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biology and Ecology (SERBIA)
2Elementary School „Sava Kerković“, Ljig (SERBIA)
3University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Environmental Protection (SERBIA)
4University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Physics (SERBIA)
Most teachers and researchers would like to know more about the factors which may facilitate or prevent pupils’ deep involvement in learning. Learning is a complex mental phenomenon influenced by many factors. Some of these factors are motivation and learning styles. Motivation is mostly defined as a pupils’ driving force that encourages pupils to the efficient learning. Learning styles are relatively permanent indicator of the way in which pupils perceive and respond to the environment that is the source of knowledge. Based on the definitions of motivation and learning styles, there is evident their possible impact on the pupils' performance in the Biology teaching. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between the preferred learning styles of pupils and their motivation to learn Biology with the pupils’ achievements on the test of knowledge. The research was conducted on a sample of 101 pupils of the seventh grade of elementary schools in the Republic of Serbia. In the research, the following instruments were used: Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire - MSLQ and The Learning Style Inventory - LSI.

Findings showed that the pupils were the most focused on beliefs in learning control (M = 4.24, SD = 0.20), while they the least evaluated fear of the tests (M = 2.84, SD = 0.49). It was obtained in the research that there were no sex differences in the degree of motivation for learning Biology (t = 0.172, p <0.05). The influence of motivation on the pupils’ achievements in Biology was tested with multiple regression. The results showed that the motivation statistically significantly influenced the pupils’ achievement (F (6.94) = 17.18; p <0.01), and the most important predictors were the following: self-efficacy (β = 0.526; p <0.01) and beliefs in learning control (β = 0.303; p <0.01).
According to Kolb's inventory applied to identify learning styles, it was found that the most frequent style on the observed sample was a converging style (50.50%), then assimilating style (26.73%), divergent style (14.85%), and accommodating style (7.92%). The result of the research indicated that the largest percentage of respondents was characterized by the ability for abstract conceptualization, active experimentation and systematization of complex information in the logical entity. Sex differences were not statistically significant, χ2= 4.540, p> 0.05. The research obtained a statistically significant influence of a learning style on the pupils’ achievement, F (3.97) = 2.886, p <0.05. The highest achievements in Biology were accomplished by pupils with assimilating learning style (M = 4.00, SD = 0.92), then by pupils with a convergent learning style (M = 3.82, SD = 1.05) and accommodating learning style (M = 3.38, SD = 1.41), while the lowest achievements in Biology were accomplished by pupils with a divergent learning style (M = 3.07, SD = 1.22). Tukey’s test made a special distinction among the groups of pupils who preferred assimilating and divergent learning style.

The research has shown that motivation and learning styles influence on the pupils’ achievement in Biology teaching. Therefore, it is important to encourage teachers to apply such teaching strategies that stimulate both components in order to positively influence pupils' achievements.