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Original Research

Effect of learning modalities on visuomotor performance and mental flexibility in professional students

Usha G Shenoy, Jagadamba Ashwathappa, Roshni Shivram, Srilakshmi Priya.


Background: The style of learning in an individual is the preferable choice of processing and transforming knowledge. The modalities of learning styles are unimodal, bimodal, and multimodal learning style. Trial making test (TMT) is a neurocognitive test which measures the domain of cognition, its speed of processing, its sequencing order, mental flexibility, and visuomotor skills.

Aim and Objective: To compare visual-motor skills and mental flexibility in different learning modalities in professional students.

Materials and Methods: Institutional ethical clearance and written informed consent was obtained. Cross-sectional observational data were collected. VARK questionnaire was administered to professional students between the age group of 18 and 25 years. 55 unimodal, 56 bimodal, and 36 multimodal students who volunteered for the study performed the TMT consisting of Trial A an index of mental skills and Trial B an index of mental flexibility was measured in time (seconds). TMT composite score (B-A) was used to remove the speed content from the test evaluated, resulting in a more refined index of mental flexibility.

Results: Significant differences in visual-motor skills (TRIAL A) and flexibility (TRIAL B) were seen between groups by one-way ANOVA (F [2.144] = 53.8 l, P < 0.001) and (F [2.144] = 69.26 P < 0.001), respectively. Tukey’s post hoc test showed that the visual motor skills was significantly prolonged (P = 0.001) in multimodal students compared to bimodal and unimodal groups and between uni and bimodal groups, while mental flexibility was decreased significantly in multimodals when compared to unimodals. The composite score was statistically significantly different between groups by one-way ANOVA (F [2.144)] = 27.28 P < 0.001) and Tukey’s post hoc test showed that multimodal participants composite score were prolonged compared to unimodal participants (P = 0.001).

Conclusion: Visual-motor skills and mental flexibility was significantly prolonged in multimodal compared to unimodal and bimodal learning style.

Key words: Learning Style; Neurocognitive Mental Flexibility; Trial Making Test

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