1.1 Background to the Study

Business education is an area of study that exposes its recipients to a diversified curriculum. Ibrahim (2008) viewed business education as that type of education that inculcates in its recipients’ attitudes, knowledge, skills, and values that are required in the business world. It produces literate and self-reliant citizens that would create wealth for human and national development, ultimately resulting in sustainable national development. Njoku (2006) defined business education as an educational programme that equips an individual with functional and suitable skills, knowledge, attitude and value that enables him/her operate in the environment he/she finds himself/herself. According to Adesina (2007), business education is a primary education for vocation. It is an integral part of vocational and technical education. It is a training system that encourages the beneficiary to acquire skills that makes him fit into the world of work. Business education encompasses attitude, knowledge, and skills needed for any level of employment and advancement in a broad range of business careers. Business education curriculum provides training in shorthand skills. Shorthand is one of the fundamental subjects in business education. The National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) recognised shorthand as an important business education subject, particularly with regards to the achievement of objective five of Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) business education, which is “to equip NCE graduates with the right skills that will enable them to engage in a life of work in the office as well as for self-employment” (NCCE, 2012 revised). Shorthand is any system of representing spoken sound with written signs. Shorthand system is used to write as quickly as people 2 speak using special symbols to represent words and phrases. Redmond (2008) considered shorthand as any system of writing that is rapid and concise enough to enable the writer to keep pace with normal speech. Usually, strokes, abbreviations and special characters are used to represent letters, words, and phrases. NCE graduates having effective shorthand skills are able to listen, focus, organize and attend to details. Some factors affect the learning process which makes mastering of shorthand difficult for students. These factors include learning styles, self-esteem, teaching methods, mood, environment, and background Individual learners have different backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, needs, levels of attitudes, motivations, and approaches to learning. People adopt approaches to learning which they are most comfortable with. Learners also differ in how successfully they respond to, and profit from instructional processes. Among the factors that determine success or failure in learning processes, is the consideration of differences in learning styles. Learning style is defined as the manner and the condition under which learners most efficiently and effectively perceived, process, store and recall what they are attempting to learn. This view was emphasized by Liu (2008) when he defined learning styles as approaches to learning which refer to information processed in a preferred way in accordance to a learner’s habitual characteristics. Walsh (2011) stated that learning styles are typical approaches or patterns; visual, auditory and kinesthetic, that gives direction to learning behavior. Every individual learns and processes information in different ways. Understanding an individual’s learning style preferences help learners to be aware of themselves, their abilities, how they learn, and why they differ from their peers. It also assists them in planning their learning, and developing strategies that help cope with different learning situations in order to make learning more meaningful and effective. Bidabadi &Yamat (2010) and Sabatova (2008) reported that students’ academic performance can be improved when they learn within the realm of their learning styles. There is numerous classification of learning 3 styles, however, this study focused on perceptual learning styles model which classified learning into visual learning style (learning through seeing), auditory learning style (learning through hearing and listening) and Kinesthetic learning style (learning through active engagement in doing or touching). In skill, related subjects such as shorthand, students’ learning styles play an essential role and may influence their learning processes which may eventually affect their academic performance. Performance refers to what students achieve in their studies and how they cope with or accomplish different learning experiences given to them by their teachers. Ibrahim (2011) reported that in educational institutions, success is measured by how well students meet the standards set out by the institutions. All the described variables constitute the background in which this study was conducted on the assessment of the relationship between business education students’ learning styles and their performance in shorthand in colleges of education .

Statement of the Problem

Shorthand is one of the core business education subjects offered for the attainment of Nigeria Certificate in Education. The performances of students in shorthand continued to decline yearly in colleges of education. It was noted by the researcher that only few business education stu performed well in shorthand. This poor performance was a major concern of teachers, researchers, and curriculum planners, because if the trend continued unchecked and untreated, students may lose interest in shorthand. Amoor (2014) reported that shorthand and typewriting that involve manipulation, construction and demonstration were losing their values compared to other business subjects like economics, accounting, and marketing to extend that students were no longer speaking favorably about them. The recurrent poor performance of students in shorthand was disturbing. Vundi, Nasango, and Majanga (2011) have observed that there is a decline in students’ performance in shorthand. In confirmation 4 of this statement, the researcher’s preliminary investigation of the performance of business education students in shorthand in colleges of education