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Individual Differences

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Learner characteristics; Personal attributes; Student traits


Individual differences can be defined as personal characteristics that distinguish learners from each other in the teaching and learning processes. Learners are unique individuals who bring a critical set of variables to each learning situation, including delicate traits as indicators of their potential and the history of achievement as signs of previous accomplishments and predictors of future performance.

Theoretical Background

There are a number of individual differences that affect performance and attitudes of learners during teaching and learning. The most common differences of learners are gender, age, intelligence, ability, interest, prior knowledge, learning style, motivation, locus of control, self-efficacy, and epistemological beliefs (Kuzgun and Deryakulu 2004).

Genderis not only about biological sex of learners. It is more of social perceptions, attributions, sensitivities, and treatments of...

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  • Buss, D. M., & Greiling, H. (1999). Adaptive individual differences. Journal of Personality, 67, 209–243.

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  • Kuzgun, Y., & Deryakulu, D. (Eds.). (2004). Egitimde bireysel farkliliklar [Individual differences in education]. Ankara: Nobel.

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  • Maltby, J., Day, L., & Macaskill, A. (2007). Personality, individual differences and intelligence. London: Pearson Education.

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Correspondence to Ali Simsek .

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© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Simsek, A. (2012). Individual Differences. In: Seel, N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA.

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