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A comparative study of the learning styles among 1st, 2nd and final year MBBS students

Nagesh Raju G., Manjunath S. M., Dharmaraj B., Shrish Patil.

Abstract
Background: Learning style is the way students begin to focus, internalize and remember new and difficult information. Identifying the learning styles of medical students will enable the faculty to use appropriate T/L method to increase the grasping ability of their subject/ learning. Purpose of the study was to assess and compare the learning styles of 1st, 2nd and final MBBS students by using VARK questionnaire.
Methods: This was an observational, cross-sectional study based on the questionnaire, conducted by the department of Pharmacology at Basaveshwara Medical College and Hospital, Chitradurga. The VARK learning styles assessment questionnaire was administered to 1st (96 students), 2nd (60 students) and Final year (49 students). The students were categorized as auditory, kinaesthetic, visual learner or read/write depending on the predominant option they chose. Independent sample 't' test was used to compare the mean scores between the two groups using the software SPSS v22.
Results: 40% of students had unimodal and 60% had multimodal learning style. Final year MBBS students had higher percentage of multimodal learning style (73%). The most preferred style of learning among all the medical students was kinesthetic (6.6), followed by aural (5.5), visual (4.0) and read/write (3.5). There was significant difference between the learning styles of 1st and Final year MBBS students in Visual (p=0.01) and Read /Write (p= 0.008).
Conclusions: Knowing that students have different learning styles and kinesthetic being the most preferred mode of learning will help medical faculty to develop teaching/learning strategies for better outcomes.

Key words: Learning styles, Medical students, VARK


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