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Learning styles assessment: preferences in medical and dental students using fleming’s vark questionnaire

Author: 
Bhavna Nayal, Vidya Monappa, Chandni Gupta and Aruna Chanu Oinam
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Introduction: The term, ‘learning style’ describes an individual’s preferred method of gathering, processing, interpreting, organizing and analyzing the information. Learning style is the way in which students begin to focus on the topic, understand and apply new information in real life. Many students have different preference in learning styles and it is a major factor on their learning process. Researchers have defined four sensory modalities of learning: Visual (V), Aural (A), Reading/Writing(R) and Kinesthetic(K), which is called as VARK. Some learners have a preference for one of these learning modalities, whereas multimodal learners do not have a strong preference for any single method. Based on these facts the study was conducted using Fleming’s VARK questionnaire for students in year 1st, 2nd of MBBS and BDS. Materials and Methods: After we obtained the permission from stakeholder of VARK questionnaire, a VARK questionnaire that was used to assess the preferred study mode of the students was downloaded from website of the developers. The institutional ethical clearance from the university was obtained. This cross sectional study was conducted in Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University. The first, second year MBBS and first year BDS students took part in our study with their consent. The student questionnaires were scored and tabulated to determine the distribution of learning styles. Results: The results of the study showed majority in the groups were single mode learners 54.69%, 51.89% and 68.81% respectively in 1st, 2nd MBBS and BDS students. The analysis of indiviusuals learning styles in groups, we found that auditory and read style learners were statistically significant in BDS students when compared to1st mbbs students. Discussion and Conclusion: The students learn when proper environment is provided to them and it depends on the teacher who inculcates various methods to cater the learning styles of students. In our study we observed that in all groups majority were visual learners followed by bimodal style. This may be attributed to the teaching style in the sessions which will be lectures in traditional curriculum, where lot of emphasis is given on black board teaching and question answering in the class hours. Many studies have shown that students learn better by active learning strategies because active learning strategies help all type of learners. Knowing the learning style will have major impact on the delivery of the course. These studies will identify the learning preference of students and thereby helps teachers to have their proper learning strategiesin terms of teaching the subjects.

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