Association of learning styles with research self-efficacy: study of short-term research training program for medical students

Clin Transl Sci. 2014 Dec;7(6):489-92. doi: 10.1111/cts.12197. Epub 2014 Jul 31.


Purpose: With a growing need for developing future physician scientists, identifying characteristics of medical students who are likely to benefit from research training programs is important. This study assessed if specific learning styles of medical students, participating in federally funded short-term research training programs, were associated with research self-efficacy, a potential predictor of research career success.

Method: Seventy-five first-year medical students from 28 medical schools, selected to participate in two competitive NIH-supported summer programs for research training in aging, completed rating scales to evaluate learning styles at baseline, and research self-efficacy before and after training. We examined associations of individual learning styles (visual-verbal, sequential-global, sensing-intuitive, and active-reflective) with students' gender, ranking of medical school, and research self-efficacy.

Results: Research self-efficacy improved significantly following the training programs. Students with a verbal learning style reported significantly greater research self-efficacy at baseline, while visual, sequential, and intuitive learners demonstrated significantly greater increases in research self-efficacy from baseline to posttraining. No significant relationships were found between learning styles and students' gender or ranking of their medical school.

Conclusions: Assessments of learning styles may provide useful information to guide future training endeavors aimed at developing the next generation of physician-scientists.

Keywords: learning styles; medical education; physician scientist; research self-efficacy; research training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Research / education*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Students, Medical*