logo logo European Journal of Educational Research

EU-JER is is a, peer reviewed, online academic research journal.

Subscribe to

Receive Email Alerts

for special events, calls for papers, and professional development opportunities.


Publisher (HQ)

Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Eurasian Society of Educational Research
7321 Parkway Drive South, Hanover, MD 21076, USA
Eurasian Society of Educational Research
7321 Parkway Drive South, Hanover, MD 21076, USA
higher order thinking skill problems learning style prospective mathematics teacher working memory capacity

How the Learning Style and Working Memory Capacity of Prospective Mathematics Teachers Affects Their Ability to Solve Higher Order Thinking Problems

Dwi Juniati , I Ketut Budayasa

This study aims to analyze the effects of working memory capacity and learning styles of prospective mathematics teachers on their ability to solve hi.


This study aims to analyze the effects of working memory capacity and learning styles of prospective mathematics teachers on their ability to solve higher-order thinking problems. In the present study, learning style was considered students' tendency to learn visually or verbally. In addition, the types of higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) problems are complex and non-complex. Multiple regression tests were used to analyze the effects of learning style and working memory capacity. An ANOVA test was also conducted to analyze the ability of each group to solve each HOTS problem. In addition, one hundred twenty-six prospective mathematics teachers voluntarily participated in this study. The study found that learning styles only affected visual problems while working memory capacity (WMC) only affected the ability to solve complex problem-solving skills. Furthermore, WMC affected the ability to solve complex HOTS problems, not non-complex ones. The ability of visual students to solve HOTS problems will greatly increase when the problems are presented in visual form. On the other hand, the obstacle for visual students in solving verbal problems was to present the problem appropriately in visual form. The obstacle for students with low WMC in solving complex HOTS problems was to find a solution that met all the requirements set in the problem.

Keywords: Higher-order thinking skill problems, learning style, prospective mathematics teacher, working memory capacity.

cloud_download PDF
Article Metrics



Alloway, T. P., & Passolunghi, M. C. (2011). The relationship between working memory, IQ, and mathematical skills in children. Learning and Individual Differences, 21(1), 133-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2010.09.013

Anjariyah, D., Juniati, D., & Siswono, T. Y. E. (2022). How does working memory capacity affect students’ mathematical problem solving? European Journal of Educational Research, 11(3), 1427-1439. https://doi.org/10.12973/eu-jer.11.3.1427

Ariem, J. G., & Cabal, E. M. (2021). Science teachers’ teaching styles, students’ learning styles and their academic performance in the secondary public schools of Zambales. International Journal of Multidisciplinary: Applied Business and Education Research, 2(10), 951-959. https://doi.org/10.11594/ijmaber.02.10.13

Ashcraft, M. H., & Krause, J. A. (2007). Working memory, math performance, and math anxiety. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 14(2), 243-248. https://doi.org/10.3758/bf03194059

Avargil, S., Herscovitz, O., & Dori, Y. J. (2012). Teaching thinking skills in context-based learning: Teachers’ challenges and assessment knowledge. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 21, 207-225. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-011-9302-7

Baddeley, A. (2003). Working memory: Looking back and looking forward. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 4, 829-839. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn1201

Bhattacharyya, E., & Shariff, A. B. M. S. (2014). Learning style and its impact in higher education and human capital needs. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences123, 485-494. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.1448

Bosman, A., & Schulze, S. (2018). Learning style preferences and mathematics achievement of secondary school learners. South African Journal of Education, 38(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.15700/saje.v38n1a1440

Brookhart, S. M. (2010). How to assess higher-order thinking skills in your classroom. ASCD.

Budayasa, I. K., & Juniati, D. (2019). The influence of cognitive style on mathematical communication of prospective math teachers in solving problems. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1417, Article 012056. https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1417/1/012056

Cabi, E., & Yalcinalp, S. (2012). Lifelong learning considerations: Relationship between learning styles and learning strategies in higher education. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 4457-4462. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.275

Chein, J. M., Weisberg, R. W., Streeter, N. L., & Kwok, S. (2010). Working memory and insight in the nine-dot problem. Memory and Cognition, 38(7), 883-892. https://doi.org/10.3758/mc.38.7.883

Conway, A. R. A., Kane, M. J., & Engle, R. W. (2003). Working memory capacity and its relation to general intelligence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(12), 547-552. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2003.10.005

Cowan, N. (2013). Working memory underpins cognitive development, learning, and education. Educational Psychology Review, 26, 197-223. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-013-9246-y

Craft, A., & Wegerif, R. (2006). Thinking skills and creativity. Thinking Skills and Creativity1(1), 1-2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2005.12.001

Crouzevialle, M., Smeding, A., & Butera, F. (2015). Correction: Striving for excellence sometimes hinders high achievers: performance-approach goals deplete arithmetical performance in students with high working memory capacity. PLoS ONE, 10(10), Article e0141276. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0141276

DeCaro, M. S., Van Stockum, C. A., & Wieth, M. B. (2016). When higher working memory capacity hinders insight. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42(1), 39-49. https://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000152

Felder, R. M., & Spurlin, J. (2005). Index of learning styles (ILS) [Database record]. APA PsycTests. https://doi.org/10.1037/t43782-000

Gaissmaier, W., Schooler, L. J., & Rieskamp, J. (2006). Simple predictions fueled by capacity limitations: When are they successful? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32(5), 966-982. https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7393.32.5.966

Hawk, T. F., & Shah, A. J. (2007). Using learning style instruments to enhance student learning. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 5(1), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4609.2007.00125.x

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Toward a design theory of problem solving. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48, 63-85. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf02300500

Juniati, D., & Budayasa, I. K. (2020). Working memory capacity and mathematics anxiety of mathematics undergraduate students and its effect on mathematics achievement. Journal for the Education of Gifted Young Scientists, 8(1), 271-290. https://doi.org/10.17478/jegys.653518

Juniati, D., & Budayasa, I. K. (2021). Field-based tasks with technology to reduce mathematics anxiety and improve performance. World Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education, 19(1), 58-64. https://t.ly/vCbbG

Juniati, D., & Budayasa, I. K. (2022a). The effect of learning style on problem solving strategies of prospective mathematics teachers. AIP Conference Proceedings, 2577(1), Article 020027. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0096017

Juniati, D., & Budayasa, I. K. (2022b). The influence of cognitive and affective factors on the performance of prospective mathematics teachers. European Journal of Educational Research, 11(3), 1379-1391. https://doi.org/10.12973/eu-jer.11.3.1379

Juniati, D., & Budayasa, K. (2017). Construction of learning strategies to combine culture elements and technology in teaching group theory. World Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education, 15(3), 206–211. https://cutt.ly/MGqUYwd

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4(2), 193-212. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2005.17268566

Krathwohl, D. R., & Anderson, L. W. (2010). Merlin C. Wittrock and the revision of bloom's taxonomy. Educational Psychologist, 45(1), 64-65. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520903433562

Kruger, K. (2013). Higher-order thinking. Hidden Sparks. https://bit.ly/3wlmV1D

Leite, W. L., Svinicki, M., & Shi, Y. (2010). Attempted validation of the scores of the VARK: Learning styles inventory with multitrait–multimethod confirmatory factor analysis models. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 70(2), 323-339. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164409344507

Lestari, N. D. S., Juniati, D., & Suwarsono, S. (2018). Exploring the knowledge of content and teaching (KCT) of prospective math teacher in planning mathematical literacy teaching. Journal of Physics: Conference Series1097, Article 012150. https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1097/1/012150

Maf’ulah, S., Juniati, D., & Siswono, T. Y. E. (2017). The aspects of reversible thinking in solving algebraic problems by an elementary student winning National Olympiad medals in science. World Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education, 15(2), 189-194. https://t.ly/V7i9K

 Marsitin, R., Sa'dijah, C., Susiswo, S., & Chandra, T. D. (2022). Creative mathematical reasoning process of climber students in solving higher order thinking skills geometry problems. TEM Journal, 11(4), 1877-1886. https://doi.org/10.18421/tem114-56

Massa, L. J., & Mayer, R. E. (2006). Testing the ATI hypothesis: Should multimedia instruction accommodate verbalizer-visualizer cognitive style? Learning and Individual Differences, 16(4), 321-335. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2006.10.001

Mayer, R. E., & Massa, L. J. (2003). Three facets of visual and verbal learners: Cognitive ability, cognitive style, and learning preference. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 833-846. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.95.4.833

McCarthy, M. (2016). Experiential learning theory: From theory to practice. Journal of Business and Economics Research14(3), 91-100. https://doi.org/10.19030/jber.v14i3.9749

Mousavi, S., Radmehr, F., & Alamolhodaei, H. (2012). The role of mathematical homework and prior knowledge on the relationship between students’ mathematical performance, cognitive style and working memory capacity. Electronic Journal of Research in Education Psychology, 10(28), 1223-1248. https://doi.org/10.25115/ejrep.v10i28.1532

Oberauer, K. (2019). Working memory capacity limits memory for bindings. Journal of Cognition, 2(1), Article 40. https://doi.org/10.5334/joc.86

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2019). Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) result from PISA 2018. https://t.ly/3ImKc

Palengka, I., Juniati, D., & Abadi. (2019). Creative mathematical reasoning of prospective teachers in solving problems reviewed based on working memory capacity. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1417, Article 012055. https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1417/1/012055

Palengka, I., Juniati, D., & Abadi. (2021). Mathematical reasoning structure of junior high school students in solving problems based on their working memory capacity. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1747, Article 012023. https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1747/1/012023

Palengka, I., Juniati, D., & Abadi. (2022). Mathematical reasoning of prospective mathematics teachers in solving problems based on working memory capacity differences. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 18(12), Article em2193. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejmste/12670

Pambudi, D. S. (2022). Exploration of prospective mathematics teachers’ mathematical connections when solving the integral calculus problems based on prior knowledge. European Journal of Mathematics and Science Education, 3(2), 105-116. https://doi.org/10.12973/ejmse.3.2.105

Passolunghi, M. C., Caviola, S., De Agostini, R., Perin, C., & Mammarella, I. C. (2016). Mathematics anxiety, working memory, and mathematics performance in secondary-school children. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Article 42. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00042

Price, J., Catrambone, R., & Engle, R. W. (2007). When capacity matters: The role of working memory in problem solving. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Learning to solve complex scientific problems (pp. 49-76). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315091938-3

Prithishkumar, I. J., & Michael, S. (2014). Understanding your student: Using the VARK model. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, 60(2), 183-186. https://bit.ly/42JJKbv

Roeser, R. W., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Jha, A., Cullen, M., Wallace, L., Wilensky, R., Oberle, E., Thomson, K., Taylor, C., & Harrison, J. (2013). Mindfulness training and reductions in teacher stress and burnout: Results from two randomized, waitlist-control field trials. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 787-804. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032093

Rotgans, J. I., & Schmidt, H. G. (2011). The role of teachers in facilitating situational interest in an active-learning classroom. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(1), 37-42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2010.06.025

Syamsuddin, A., Juniati, D., & Siswono, T. Y. E. (2020). Understanding the problem-solving strategy based on cognitive style as a tool to investigate reflective thinking process of prospective teacher. Universal Journal of Educational Research8(6), 2614-2620. https://doi.org/10.13189/ujer.2020.080644

Tanudjaya, C. P., & Doorman, M. (2020). Examining higher order thinking in Indonesian lower secondary mathematics classrooms. Journal on Mathematics Education, 11(2), 277-300. https://doi.org/10.22342/jme.11.2.11000.277-300

Thompson, T. (2008). Mathematics teachers’ interpretation of higher-order thinking in bloom’s taxonomy. International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education, 3(2), 96-109. https://doi.org/10.29333/iejme/221

Tsai, K. C., & Shirley, M. (2013). Exploratory examination of relationships between learning styles and creative thinking in math students. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 3(8), 506-519. https://doi.org/10.6007/ijarbss/v3-i8/175

Wiley, J., & Jarosz, A. F. (2012a). How working memory capacity affects problem solving. Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 56, 185-227. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-394393-4.00006-6

Wiley, J., & Jarosz, A. F. (2012b). Working memory capacity, attentional focus, and problem solving. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(4), 258-262. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721412447622

Yasmeen, S., Batool, I., & Bajwa, R. S. (2020). Learning styles and employee creative behavior; an exploration through cognitive styles. Journal of Business and Social Review in Emerging Economies, 6(1), 43-54. https://doi.org/10.26710/jbsee.v6i1.1024