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Concept: Learning styles


The existence of ‘Learning Styles’ is a common ‘neuromyth’, and their use in all forms of education has been thoroughly and repeatedly discredited in the research literature. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that their use remains widespread. This perspective article is an attempt to understand if and why the myth of Learning Styles persists. I have done this by analyzing the current research literature to capture the picture that an educator would encounter were they to search for “Learning Styles” with the intent of determining whether the research evidence supported their use. The overwhelming majority (89%) of recent research papers, listed in the ERIC and PubMed research databases, implicitly or directly endorse the use of Learning Styles in Higher Education. These papers are dominated by the VAK and Kolb Learning Styles inventories. These presence of these papers in the pedagogical literature demonstrates that an educator, attempting to take an evidence-based approach to education, would be presented with a strong yet misleading message that the use of Learning Styles is endorsed by the current research literature. This has potentially negative consequences for students and for the field of education research.

Concepts: Education, Academic publishing, Educational psychology, Higher education, Teacher, Evidence, Anecdotal evidence, Learning styles


To optimize the effectiveness of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for each individual patient, it is important to discern whether different intervention techniques may be differentially effective. One factor influencing the differential effectiveness of CBT intervention techniques may be the patient’s preferred learning style, and whether this is ‘matched’ to the intervention.

Concepts: Education, Educational psychology, Learning styles, Learning theory


The role of social media (SoMe) in surgical education is emerging as a tool that augments and complements traditional learning. As SoMe usage has steadily increased in our personal and professional lives, it is no surprise that it has permeated into surgical education. Different SoMe sites offer distinct platforms from which knowledge can be transmitted, while catering to various learning styles. The purpose of this review is to outline the various SoMe platforms and their use in surgical education. Moreover, it will discuss their effectiveness in teaching and learning surgical knowledge and skills as well as other potential roles SoMe has to offer to improve surgical education.

Concepts: Psychology, Education, Sociology, Educational psychology, Learning, History of education, The Various, Learning styles


Bronchoscopy programs implementing the experiential learning model address different learning styles. Problem-based learning improves knowledge retention, critical decision making, and communication. These modalities are preferred by learners and contribute to their engagement, in turn leading to durable learning. Follow-up after live events is warranted through spaced education strategies. The objectives of this article are to (1) summarize and illustrate the implementation of experiential learning theory for bronchoscopy courses, (2) discuss the flipped classroom model and problem-based learning, (3) illustrate bronchoscopy checklists implementation in simulation, and (4) discuss the importance of feedback and spaced learning for bronchoscopy education programs.

Concepts: Decision making, Education, Educational psychology, Learning, Logic, Experiential learning, Education theory, Learning styles


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.

Concepts: Education, Educational psychology, Learning, Intelligence, Preference, Utility, Learning styles, Learning theory


The recognition of learning styles and teaching based on that recognition will help lecturers use suitable methods of teaching. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of education based on dominant learning styles on the academic achievement of nursing students. The population of this quasi-experimental research consisted of 40 third-semester nursing students. The data were collected by using Kolb’s Learning Style questionnaire. To determine the dominant learning style of the students, the researchers had them take a pre-test; then, based on the dominant learning style, the students were taught through group discussion. A formative exam and a summative exam were taken. The most and least preferred learning styles of the participants were the divergent style and the assimilative style respectively. Education based on learning styles, particularly for college students, can not only enhance students' academic achievement and teachers' professional satisfaction, but can help with training professional nurses.

Concepts: Education, Educational psychology, Profession, University, School, Teacher, History of education, Learning styles


Educators need to be aware of different learning styles to effectively tailor instructional strategies and methods to cater to the students' learning needs and support a conductive learning environment. The VARK [an acronym for visual (V), aural (A), read/write ® and kinesthetic (K)] instrument is a useful model to assess learning styles. The aim of this study was to use the VARK questionnaire to determine the learning styles of pre-clinical medical students in order to compare the perceived and assessed learning style preferences, assess gender differences in learning style preferences, and determine whether any relationships exists between awareness of learning styles and academic grades, age, gender and learning modality.

Concepts: Psychology, Understanding, Education, Educational psychology, Sense, Learning styles, DISC assessment, Kinesthetic learning


Students commencing their medical training arrive with different educational backgrounds and a diverse range of learning experiences. Consequently, students would have developed preferred approaches to acquiring and processing information or learning style preferences. Understanding first-year students' learning style preferences is important to success in learning. However, little is understood about how learning styles impact learning and performance across different subjects within the medical curriculum. Greater understanding of the relationship between students' learning style preferences and academic performance in specific medical subjects would be valuable.

Concepts: Understanding, Education, Educational psychology, Knowledge, Preference, Learning styles, Learning theory


The goal of the study was to evaluate alternative student-centered approaches that could replace autopsy sessions and live demonstration, and to explore refinements in assessment procedures for standardized cardiac dissection. Simulators and videos were identified as feasible, economical, student-centered teaching methods for technical skills training in medical contexts, and a direct comparison was undertaken. A low-fidelity anatomically correct simulator approximately the size of a horse’s heart with embedded dissection pathways was constructed and used with a series of laminated photographs of standardized cardiac dissection. A video of a standardized cardiac dissection of a normal horse’s heart was recorded and presented with audio commentary. Students were allowed to nominate a preference for learning method, and students who indicated no preference were randomly allocated to keep group numbers even. Objective performance data from an objective structure assessment criterion and student perception data on confidence and competency from surveys showed both innovations were similarly effective. Evaluator reflections as well as usage logs to track patterns of student use were both recorded. A strong selection preference was identified for kinesthetic learners choosing the simulator and visual learners choosing the video. Students in the video cohort were better at articulating the reasons for dissection procedures and sequence due to the audio commentary, and student satisfaction was higher with the video. The major conclusion of this study was that both methods are effective tools for technical skills training, but consideration should to be given to the preferred learning style of adult learners to maximize educational outcomes.

Concepts: Education, Educational psychology, Skill, Learning, Normal distribution, Preference, Learning styles, Kinesthetic learning


In the anatomical sciences, e-learning tools have become a critical component of teaching anatomy when physical space and cadaveric resources are limited. However, studies that use empirical evidence to compare their efficacy to visual-kinesthetic learning modalities are scarce. The study examined how a visual-kinesthetic experience, involving a physical skeleton, impacts learning when compared with virtual manipulation of a simple two-dimensional (2D) e-learning tool, A.D.A.M. Interactive Anatomy. Students from The University of Western Ontario, Canada (n = 77) participated in a dual-task study to: (1) investigate if a dual-task paradigm is an effective tool for measuring cognitive load across these different learning modalities; and (2) to assess the impact of knowledge recall and spatial ability when using them. Students were assessed using knowledge scores, Stroop task reaction times, and mental rotation test scores. Results demonstrated that the dual-task paradigm was not an effective tool for measuring cognitive load across different learning modalities with respect to kinesthetic learning. However, our study highlighted that handing physical specimens yielded major, positive impacts on performance that a simple commercial e-learning tool failed to deliver (P < 0.001). Furthermore, students with low spatial ability were significantly disadvantaged when they studied the bony joint and were tested on contralateral images (P = 0.046, R = 0.326). This suggests that, despite limbs being mirror images, students should be taught the anatomy of, as well as procedures on, both sides of the human body, enhancing the ability of all students, regardless of spatial ability, to take anatomical knowledge into the clinic and perform successfully. Anat Sci Educ. © 2017 American Association of Anatomists.

Concepts: Education, Dimension, Educational psychology, Space, Learning, Knowledge, Human anatomy, Learning styles