The goal of this study was to identify the relationships between the learning choices made by pupils and their personal characteristics, including cognitive style (field dependence–independence), a motivational variable (feeling of self-efficacy), and a cognitive variable (task representation). The participants were 64 twelve-year-old sixth graders from a suburban middle school in France (35 boys and 29 girls). Cognitive style or FDI was measured with the Group Embedded Figures Test, a perceptual test that requires finding a simple geometrical figure embedded in a complex geometrical one. Five learning conditions (autonomy, tutoring, verbal instruction, silent demonstration, and verbal demonstration) were then proposed in random order to the pupils. They were asked to select a learning method to solve a motor problem: a badminton service. The results indicated an absence of relationships between the choice of a learning condition and cognitive style. Three variables partially predicted the learning-condition choice: feeling of self-efficacy, task representation, and motor performance. The present results can be interpreted in the light of studies on children’s help-seeking behavior in problem-solving situations.
Vincent-Morin and Lafont are with Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, Laboratoire VSTII, EA 498, Faculté des Sciences du Sport et de l’EP, Ave Camille Jullian, 33607 Pessac Cedex France.