Students awareness of learning styles and their perceptions to a mixed method approach for learning

Int J Appl Basic Med Res. 2015 Aug;5(Suppl 1):S58-65. doi: 10.4103/2229-516X.162281.


Background: Individualization of instructional method does not contribute significantly to learning outcomes although it is known that students have differing learning styles (LSs). Hence, in order to maximally enhance learning, one must try to use a mixed method approach.

Hypothesis: Our hypothesis was that awareness of preferred LS and motivation to incorporate multiple learning strategies might enhance learning outcomes.

Aim: Our aim was to determine the impact of awareness of LS among medical undergraduates and motivating students to use mixed methods of learning.

Materials and methods: Before awareness lecture, LS preferences were determined using Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic (VARK) questionnaire. Awareness of LS was assessed using a validated questionnaire. Through a lecture, students were oriented to various LSs, impact of LS on their performance, and benefit of using mixed method approach for learning. Subsequently, group discussions were organized. After 3 months, VARK preferences and awareness of LSs were reassessed. Student narratives were collected. Qualitative analysis of the data was done.

Results: There was a significant increase in the number of students who were aware of LS. The number of participants showing a change in VARK scores for various modalities of learning was also significant (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Thus, awareness of LSs motivated students to adapt other learning strategies and use mixed methods for learning.

Keywords: Learning styles; mixed approach for learning; perceptions; student's awareness.