Dissertation Abstract

Basic Learning Styles and the Relationships to Achievement in Allied Health and Nursing.

Publication Number:  AG8811028
Author:  Rahr, Richard
School:  University of Houston
Date:  1987
Pages:  170
Subject:  Education, Allied Health

In allied health and nursing, the importance of finding the most effective and efficient styles of learning are of great importance because of the enormous amounts of information that students have to learn and retain in very short periods of time. Therefore, determining student learning styles and learning environments becomes a high priority.

The purpose of this study was to determine the learning styles and preferred learning environments of allied health and nursing students. The relationships between learning styles student levels of achievement in didactic, scientific, and core courses were also studied. One instrument, the Gregorc's Learning Style Delineator, classifies subjects into four distinct learning styles: abstract-random, concrete-sequential, abstract-sequential, and concrete-random. A second instrument, the Rahr Learning Environment Preference Instrument, designed by the author and modeled after an instrument used by Dunn, Dunn, and Price, identifies preferences students have for learning.

In this study, learning styles and learning environment preferences of students in four allied health disciplines (occupational therapy, physical therapy, medical technology, and physician assistant) and in nursing were compared. Participants were junior and senior students enrolled at the School of Allied Health Sciences and the School of Nursing at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas.

Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Results include: (a) allied health students were predominantly Caucasian single females, mean age of 24.8 years; (b) the predominant learning style was the concrete-sequential type; (c) whereas medical technology students were mostly (73.9%) concrete-sequential, occupational therapy students were mostly (55.6%) abstract-random; (d) favorite learning styles were note-taking, lecture and laboratory; (e) favorite learning environment was a quiet, informal and brightly-lit setting; and (f) most students preferred to study in the evening hours. Learning styles were not predictive of achievement in the case of nursing students. Additionally, there was no significant difference in learning style frequency distribution between the junior and senior nursing students.

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