Problem-based learning (PBL): assessing students' learning preferences using VARK

Nurse Educ Today. 2008 Jul;28(5):572-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2007.09.012. Epub 2007 Nov 5.


Objective: This study was conducted to describe learning styles of third year nursing students.

Design: An interventional study Setting: a public university in Jordan.

Subjects: Used a purposive sample of 92 nursing students who were enrolled in maternity nursing course.

Main outcome measures: Measure the difference in learning styles of nursing students after introducing an intervention of PBL as a teaching methodology.

Results: The dominant learning preference of the students was the read/write preference followed by the kinesthetic, still most of the students represented a multimodal learning preference. No significant difference was found between males and females. A significant difference in the learning preferences of the students in the pre-post test was found. In the pretest the mean of the total VARK score 13.9 (SD=2) where as in the post test the mean of the total VARK score=16.5 (SD=3.5). In the pre-test 54% of students had a multimodal preference whereas 68% of students have a multimodal preference post-test.

Conclusions: Most students are able to learn effectively as long as the instructor provides different learning activities in the areas assessed in VARK. Active learning might be enhanced in large classrooms by presenting models and demonstrations, discussions, debates, answering questions, and role playing.

MeSH terms

  • Abbreviations as Topic
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel* / ethnology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Developing Countries
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / organization & administration*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jordan
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Maternal-Child Nursing / education
  • Models, Educational
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Problem-Based Learning / organization & administration*
  • Psychology, Educational
  • Sex Factors
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires