Objectives: To investigate how pharmacy students' approaches to learning change over the duration of a bachelor of pharmacy degree program.
Methods: Data were obtained from a cross-sectional, repeated measures design, using a validated self-report survey instrument. Areas examined included processing and regulation strategies, motivational preferences for learning, and the relationship between approaches to learning and academic performance.
Results: Pharmacy students were strongly vocationally oriented in their studies across all year groups. This approach had a significant relationship to academic performance. Overall, students indicated a preference for external regulation strategies. There was little evidence of maturation in approaches to learning as students progressed through the curriculum.
Conclusions: Students' preference for vocationally related strategies can be harnessed to increase both adoption of self-regulation behaviors and motivation for mastery of material. Comparison of our results with other studies indicates that approaches to learning may be influenced more by the learning environment than the discipline of study.
Keywords: Vermunt's Inventory of Learning Styles; learning, bachelor of pharmacy degree.