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Association between learning style preferences and anatomy assessment outcomes in graduate-entry and undergraduate medical students

Association between learning style preferences and anatomy assessment outcomes in graduate-entry and undergraduate medical students

Anatomical Sciences Education 9(4): 391-399

An improved understanding of the relationship between anatomy learning performance and approaches to learning can lead to the development of a more tailored approach to delivering anatomy teaching to medical students. This study investigated the relationship between learning style preferences, as measured by Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic (VARK) inventory style questionnaire and Honey and Mumford's learning style questionnaire (LSQ), and anatomy and clinical skills assessment performance at an Irish medical school. Additionally, mode of entry to medical school [undergraduate/direct-entry (DEM) vs. graduate-entry (GEM)], was examined in relation to individual learning style, and assessment results. The VARK and LSQ were distributed to first and second year DEM, and first year GEM students. DEM students achieved higher clinical skills marks than GEM students, but anatomy marks did not differ between each group. Several LSQ style preferences were shown to be weakly correlated with anatomy assessment performance in a program- and year-specific manner. Specifically, the "Activist" style was negatively correlated with anatomy scores in DEM Year 2 students (rs = -0.45, P = 0.002). The "Theorist" style demonstrated a weak correlation with anatomy performance in DEM Year 2 (rs = 0.18, P = 0.003). Regression analysis revealed that, among the LSQ styles, the "Activist" was associated with poorer anatomy assessment performance (P < 0.05), while improved scores were associated with students who scored highly on the VARK "Aural" modality (P < 0.05). These data support the contention that individual student learning styles contribute little to variation in academic performance in medical students. Anat Sci Educ 9: 391-399. © 2016 American Association of Anatomists.

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Accession: 057250350

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PMID: 26845590

DOI: 10.1002/ase.1600

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