The relationship between learning style preferences and gender,educational major and status in first year medical students: A survey study from Iran

Background: Identifying and employing appropriate learning styles could play an important role in selecting teaching styles in order to improve education.Objectives: This study aimed to determine the relationship between learning styles preferences and gender,educational major and status in first year students at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.Patients and Methods: A cross-sectional study employing the visual-aural-read/write-kinesthetic (VARK) learning style's questionnaire was done on 184 first year students of medicine,pharmacy,dentistry,nursing and health services management at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in 2012.The validity of the questionnaire was assessed through experts' views and reliability was calculated using Cronbach's alpha coefficients (α = 0.86).Data were analyzed using the SPSS ver.18 software and x2 test.Results: Out of 184 participants who responded to and returned the questionnaire,122 (66.3%) were female;more than two-thirds (68.5%) of the enrolled students were at the professional doctorate level (medicine,pharmacy,dentistry) and 31.5% at the undergraduate level (nursing and health services management).Eighty-nine (48.4%) students preferred a single-modal learning style.In contrast,the remaining 95 students (51.6%) preferred multi-modal learning styles.A significant relationship between gender and single modal learning styles (P = 0.009) and between status and learning styles (P = 0.04) was observed.Conclusions: According to the results,male students preferred to use the kinesthetic learning style more than females,while,female students preferred the aural learning style.Knowledge about the learning styles of students at educational institutes is valuable and helps solve learning problems among students,and allows students to become better learners.© 2015,Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal.

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