Learning environment, approaches to learning and learning preferences: medical students versus general education students

J Pak Med Assoc. 2016 May;66(5):541-4.


Objective: The main objective of the study was to see whether medical students use more desirable approaches to studying than general education students.

Methods: Survey method was used to collect data from both the medical students and the general education students. The survey of the medical students was carried out between January and March, 2012. The survey was administered to all the medical students present in lecture halls on day of data collection, while general education students were randomly selected from four subject areas at two universities.

Results: In total, 976 medical students and 912 general students participated in the study. Of the general students, 494(54%) were boys and 418(46%)were girls with an overall mean age of 20.53±1.77 years (range: 17-27 years). The medical students' perceptions of their learning environment and their learning preferences were broadly similar to that of general education students with the exception of workload. The medical students perceived the workload to be less appropriate (Mean = 2.06±0.72) than the students in general education (Mean = 2.84±0.90). The medical students were more likely to use the deep approach to studying (Mean = 3.66±0.59) than the students in general education (Mean = 3.16±0.91). The students in general education were slightly more likely to use the organized studying (Mean = 3.44±0.90) than the medical students (Mean =3.23±0.90). Both medical students and the students in general education tended to use the surface approaches along with other approaches to studying.

Conclusions: There was not a great difference between the medical students and the students pursuing general education with regard to perceptions of the learning environment and approaches to learning.

Keywords: Approaches to learning. Perceptions of the learning environment, Learning preferences, Medical students, General education students..

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Perception
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Workload
  • Young Adult