What type of learner are your students? Preferred learning styles of undergraduate gross anatomy students according to the index of learning styles questionnaire
Anatomical sciences education | 3 Nov 2017
MM Quinn, T Smith, EL Kalmar and JM Burgoon
Students learn and process information in many different ways. Learning styles are useful as they allow instructors to learn more about students, as well as aid in the development and application of useful teaching approaches and techniques. At the undergraduate level there is a noticeable lack of research on learning style preferences of students enrolled in gross anatomy courses. The Index of Learning Styles (ILS) questionnaire was administered to students enrolled in a large enrollment undergraduate gross anatomy course with laboratory to determine their preferred learning styles. The predominant preferred learning styles of the students (n = 505) enrolled in the gross anatomy course were active (54.9%), sensing (85.1%), visual (81.2%), and sequential (74.4%). Preferred learning styles profiles of particular majors enrolled in the course were also constructed; analyses showed minor variation in the active/reflective dimension. An understanding of students' preferred learning styles can guide course design but it should not be implemented in isolation. It can be strengthened (or weakened) by concurrent use of other tools (e.g., flipped classroom course design). Based on the preferred learning styles of the majority of undergraduate students in this particular gross anatomy course, course activities can be hands on (i.e., active), grounded in concrete information (i.e., sensing), utilize visual representation such as images, figures, models, etc. (i.e., visual), and move in small incremental steps that build on each topic (i.e., sequential). Anat Sci Educ. © 2017 American Association of Anatomists.
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