The learning style preferences of chiropractic students: a cross-sectional study

Stephney Whillier, Reidar P Lystad, David Abi-Arrage, Christopher McPhie, Samara Johnston, Christopher Williams, Mark Rice

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    Objective : The aims of our study were to measure the learning style preferences of chiropractic students and to assess whether they differ across the 5 years of chiropractic study. Methods : A total of 407 (41.4% females) full-degree, undergraduate, and postgraduate students enrolled in an Australian chiropractic program agreed to participate in a cross-sectional survey comprised of basic demographic information and the Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic (VARK) questionnaire, which identifies learning preferences on four different subscales: visual, aural, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Multivariate analysis of variance and the χ(2) test were used to check for differences in continuous (VARK scores) and categorical (VARK category preference) outcome variables. Results : The majority of chiropractic students (56.0%) were found to be multimodal learners. Compared to the other learning styles preferences, kinesthetic learning was preferred by a significantly greater proportion of students (65.4%, p < .001) and received a significantly greater mean VARK score (5.66 ± 2.47, p < .001).

    Conclusions : To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time chiropractic students have been shown to be largely multimodal learners with a preference for kinesthetic learning. While this knowledge may be beneficial in the structuring of future curricula, more thorough research must be conducted to show any beneficial relationship between learning style preferences and teaching methods.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-27
    Number of pages7
    JournalThe Journal of Chiropractic Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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