Teaching mode efficiency and learning preferences of first year nursing students

Nurse Educ Today. 2009 Jan;29(1):24-32. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2008.06.007. Epub 2008 Aug 30.


The student population in universities is very diverse: ranging ages, experiences, culture, level of preparedness and learning styles. This diversity presents academics with increasing challenges to motivate and promote student understanding. The aim of the current study was to develop knowledge of different learning styles among first year health science students and determine the benefits that students obtain from each teaching strategy. A questionnaire was designed for quantitative data collection, consisting of two sections. The first section sought student feedback on their experiences of lectures, tutorials and practical classes; the second section, consists of the 'VARK test', Visual, Aural, Read/write, Kinesthetic sensory modalities determines the different ways of receiving information [Fleming, N.D., 1995. I'm different; not dumb. Modes of presentation (VARK) in the tertiary classroom. In: Zelmer, A. (Ed.), Annual Conference of the Higher Education and Research Development Society of Australasia. J.]. The study identified that the majority of students found the lectures, tutorials and practical sessions to be beneficial to their learning and the combination reiterates and emphasises various life science concepts. The most favoured strategy was practical sessions, while tutorials were seen as least useful. The sensory mode the majority of students preferred to receive information was kinesthetic, the hands on approach to learning. Students are diverse creatures with differing abilities and mode for learning. There is no single right way to present material but by providing several different approaches the differing learning styles of students can be accommodated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anatomy / education
  • Attitude of Health Personnel* / ethnology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / organization & administration*
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Educational
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Physiology / education
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / organization & administration*
  • Victoria
  • Young Adult