How different are students and their learning styles?

Kanchi Shah, Junaid Ahmed, Nandita Shenoy, Srikant N

Abstract


Introduction: Students, like anybody else differ from each other. As students they differ in their preferred mode of learning, i.e. their preferred modes in gathering, organizing and thinking about information. A recent classification proposed by Neil Fleming and associates state that students learning styles can be divided into Visual/graphic, Aural, Read/write and Kinesthetic types, VARK.

Aim: The aim of the recent study is to investigate learning styles among dental students in two different dental colleges of India.

Method: The VARK-questionnaire contains 15 multiple-choice- questions with four possibilities to select an answer. Each possibility represents one of the four modes of perception. But, one can select more than one answer to each question, which is necessary for the identification of poly modal modes of perception and learning. This is also a psychometric problem when trying to state a measure of the reliability of the questionnaire. The VARK-questionnaire was distributed among 200 students and was collected back. This sample size represents 100% response rate from the students in the class and is markedly above the level required to make conclusions about student preferences for receiving and processing information. The students spent about 10 minutes in an ordinary lesson to fill in the questionnaire. Students register number and name were used in the study and there was no blinding practiced.

Study Design: Questionnaire based clinical study

Results: The responses from the students in our University where classified into multi-modal (VARK), tri-modal (VRK, VAK, VAR, ARK), bi-modal (VR, VA, VK, RK) and uni-modal (V, A, R.K) categories. Results showed that subjects had a higher preference for multimodal learning.

Conclusion: We conclude that students in our set up prefer multimodal and more of Kinesthetic of learning. To meet their needs, a variation in teaching, learning and examination must be implemented. If not, these students with a high kinesthetic preference for perception and learning may be at the losing end.


Keywords


VARK, Dental education, Kinesthetic, Learning style

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References


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