Learning style preference for basic medical science: A key to instructional design
Background and Aim: Students have specific learning style preference, and it is important for designing classroom instruction to make a better learning environment. There are mainly four sensory modalities for learning (V = visual, A = aural, R = read/ write, and K = kinesthetic) and these can be assessed. Methods: A cross‑sectional study of the 1st‑year medical students (n = 146) was carried out. VARK® questionnaire version 7.8, a set of 16 multiple‑choice questions with a pretested additional questionnaire, was used to assess the preferred learning mode. Results: Kinesthetic mode is most preferred (total score = 1146), followed by aural (total score = 808), visual (total score = 624), and read/write (total score = 584). Mean value: V = 4.27 ± 2.87, A = 5.53 ± 2.95, R = 4 ± 2.21, K = 7.85 ± 2.72. Preference for practical class is 52%, discussion with teacher is 39%, 1‑h lecture is 5%, and tutorial is least preferred (4%). For lecture, chalk and talk gets 76% preference with the second choice as PowerPoint™ (PPT) presentation (13%). For PPT slides, “salient points and diagram” in the slide are most preferred (58%), followed by “diagram only” in the slide (30%). Animated image or video is preferred by majority (52%) of students. Moreover, learners enjoy a class with some breaks and humor (48%) while 31% like interaction with teachers. During lecture, 82% students like to take notes whereas 18% do not like to take notes. Conclusion: This study has revealed that most students learn best by kinesthetic method and practical classes. Still, students prefer blackboard/whiteboard teaching with some humor. For PPT presentation, they prefer salient points and diagram with a preference of animation or video. Majority take notes from class. These findings would help a teacher to design their instructional material for effective teaching.