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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 122-126

Learning style preference for basic medical science: A key to instructional design

1 Department of Physiology, Maharaja Krishna Chandra Gajapati Medical College, Ganjam, Odisha, India
2 Department of Physiology, Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Himel Mondal
Department of Physiology, M.K.C.G. Medical College, Ganjam, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-8832.191581

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Background and Aim: Students have specific learning style preference, and it is important for designing classroom instruction to make a better learning environment. There are mainly four sensory modalities for learning (V = visual, A = aural, R = read/write, and K = kinesthetic) and these can be assessed. Methods: A cross-sectional study of the 1st-year medical students (n = 146) was carried out. VARK® questionnaire version 7.8, a set of 16 multiple-choice questions with a pretested additional questionnaire, was used to assess the preferred learning mode. Results: Kinesthetic mode is most preferred (total score = 1146), followed by aural (total score = 808), visual (total score = 624), and read/write (total score = 584). Mean value: V = 4.27 ± 2.87, A = 5.53 ± 2.95, R = 4 ± 2.21, K = 7.85 ± 2.72. Preference for practical class is 52%, discussion with teacher is 39%, 1-h lecture is 5%, and tutorial is least preferred (4%). For lecture, chalk and talk gets 76% preference with the second choice as PowerPoint™ (PPT) presentation (13%). For PPT slides, “salient points and diagram” in the slide are most preferred (58%), followed by “diagram only” in the slide (30%). Animated image or video is preferred by majority (52%) of students. Moreover, learners enjoy a class with some breaks and humor (48%) while 31% like interaction with teachers. During lecture, 82% students like to take notes whereas 18% do not like to take notes. Conclusion: This study has revealed that most students learn best by kinesthetic method and practical classes. Still, students prefer blackboard/whiteboard teaching with some humor. For PPT presentation, they prefer salient points and diagram with a preference of animation or video. Majority take notes from class. These findings would help a teacher to design their instructional material for effective teaching.

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