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A cross-sectional study on learning preferences among first-year medical students in a medical college in Kerala

Arun Prakash Mani, Sunilkumar Rayan, Thilak S A, Arjun Shekar, Basheer Madompoyil, Naveen Kumar Madalageri.


Background: Education in medical field puts tremendous pressure on young students who have just passed of the schools and don't have much awareness about the happenings of a medical curriculum. These young medical students have to put more strain to understand the vast syllabus in less time than they were habituated to. These students in 1st-year of under graduation are trying to arrive to terms with the new subjects, a new way of studying the subjects, and so on. The purpose of education, especially in medical colleges are better served, if educators can understand the learning styles of their students and teach accordingly. Students use different sensory modalities to gather new information.

Aim and Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the preferred learning modalities of the 1st-year medical students in Al Azhar Medical College, Kerala.

Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 143 medical students participated. The visual aural read/write and kinesthetic (VARK) questionnaire was used to find out the preferred learning style. The mean value for each component of the VARK was calculated and the learning preference was compared between male and female students.

Results: The most common learning styles among the 1st-year medical students were unimodal (n = 82, 57.3%) and quadmodal (n = 54, 39.8%). Among the unimodal, the preferred VARK component was kinesthetic. There was no significant difference in learning styles of male and female students.

Conclusion: Our study shows that the most common preferred mode of learning is unimodal method and in that most preferred was kinesthetic. Unmatched learning methods and teaching-learning styles may negatively impact the learning of the students. Teachers should tailor their teaching styles to suits the needs of the students.

Key words: Learning Preferences; Visual Aural Read/Write and Kinesthetic; Medical Students; Multimodal; Unimodal

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