ASSOCIATION OF VISUAL, AURAL, READ/WITE, AND KINESTHETIC (VARK) LEARNING STYLES AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCES OF DENTAL STUDENTS
Objective: To determine the learning style preferences of preclinical and clinical dental students, using Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic (VARK) questionnaire, and determine association between their learning styles and past academic performances.
Study Design: Cross-sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Fatima Memorial Hospital College of Medicine and Dentistry Lahore, from Mar 2014 to Aug 2014.
Methodology: One hundred and eighty dental students from first to final year classes and house officers, fulfilling the inclusion criteria were included in this study through non-probability consecutive sampling technique. Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic questionnaire was filled by all participants and association was established between learning styles and their past examinations scores.
Results: Out of 180 students, 36 students preferred visual, 31 favored aural, 32 chose read/write, 29 liked kinesthetic as single method, but 52 students’ preferred multimodal learning strategy. The highest number of first and fourth year dental students used multiple learning styles whereas maximum number of second and third year students chose visual method but many house officers’ chose kinesthetic method as their learning style. Pearson chi-square test showed no association between academic variables (poor, average and high achievers) and their learning preferences by considering students’ scores in past annual examinations, whereas the students of third year, fourth year and house officers had significant impact of learning styles on their performances.
Conclusion: Majority of dental students preferred visual and multimodal learning styles while house officers preferred kinesthetic method. None of specific learning styles had any significant impact on learning outcome of poor, average and high achievers when compared to university scores while clinical classes showed vital influence of learning styles on their academic achievements.