Monday, June 13, 2016

The Effect of Learning Styles and Educational Methodology on Undergraduate Nursing Student Satisfaction

Alan Cooper
Willumstad School of Business, Adelphia University
Based on the learning models proposed by theorists such as David Kolb (1984) and Malcom Knowles (1990), medical and nursing school curricula are undergoing significant redesigns across the nation and around the world.  Knowledge of specific individual learning styles measured by learning style inventories can be beneficial to both students and faculty to help them understand individual learning preferences and how they interact with distinctive learning and testing methodologies. This study looked at the individual learning styles of undergraduate nursing students to explore a possible relationship between their preferred learning style and satisfaction with different teaching and learning methodologies. The Kolb Learning Styles Inventory was used to to determine the preferred learning styles for a sample of 96 undergraduate nursing students at a suburban New York nursing school.  Additionally, subjects completed course satisfaction surveys for courses that primarily employed lecture or skills/simulation based teaching methodologies, as well as surveys on their preference for learning via lecture or skills/simulation based methodologies. The results showed the greatest number of nursing students preferred the Converging learning style, while the Divergent style was preferred by the fewest number of students.  Those showing a preference for the Converging learning style had the highest satisfaction for courses using lecture presentations, while skills/simulation based methodologies were preferred most by Accommodators.  In the self report category, those favoring the Divergent learning style reported the highest preference for classes primarily using lecture presentations, while those preferring skills and simulation based methodologies were more likely to be Accommodators.  The findings support the necessity for nursing school faculty and course designers to incorporate a range of teaching and learning methodologies in their curricula in order to ensure students success based on their individual learning style. It may also be beneficial for students and faculty to be aware of individual learning styles and thusly schools should incorporate the administration of a learning styles inventory in their programs.