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Educación Médica

Print version ISSN 1575-1813


BORRACCI, R.A.; GUTHMAN, G.; RUBIO, M.  and  ARRIBALZAGA, E.B.. Learning styles in university students and medical residents. Educ. méd. [online]. 2008, vol.11, n.4, pp.229-238. ISSN 1575-1813.

Aims. To identify the prevalent learning styles among students beginning Medical School and to compare these preferences with those found at the end of the carrier and during the residency program. The relationship between learning style and academic performance, as well as the association between learning preferences and postgraduate specialty selection were additionally studied. Subjects and methods. The Honey-Alonso learning style questionnaire was administered to 102 second-year students (pregraduate initial group), 52 last-year students (pregraduate final group) and 45 physicians at a cardiology residency program (postgraduate group). Learning styles were compared within and between groups. The relationship between learning styles and academic performance in anatomy was assessed in the pregraduate initial group). The association between learning preferences and postgraduate specialty selection was studied in the pregraduate final group. Results. Learning preferences in the pregraduate initial group was theoretic (70%) for acquiring information and reflexive (86%) for using information respectively. In postgraduate group, preferences were theoretic (67%) and reflexive (70%), showing a marked decrease of the last style with respect to pregraduate initial (p = 0.069), at expense of an increase in active style. pregraduate initial showed a tendency towards ‘assimilator’ style (70.6%), while ‘convergent’ one was the rarest (6.9%). When comparing pregraduate final to postgraduate group, a reduction of ‘assimilator’ style (p = 0.040) and an increase of ‘convergent’ one (p = 0.034) was observed. Conclusions. Students’ learning preferences for acquiring and using information were theoretic and reflexive (assimilator) predominantly at the beginning of the carrier. At the end and at the postgraduate period, ‘assimilator’ style decreased at expense of an increase of the rest, especially at ‘convergent’ (theoretic and active) one. Although the ‘assimilator’ was the commoner, increase of ‘convergent’ style showed that at residency, individuals learn by solving problems and using knowledge in practice; this increase was done at expense of the active over the reflexive style. On the other hand, no relationship between learning style and academic performance in anatomy was found. Finally, an association between learning styles and postgraduate specialty selection showed that the last was more related to genre than to learning preferences.

Keywords : Academic performance; Learning styles; Medicine; Students; Teaching.

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