BSN graduates’ preferred learning styles: implications for student-centered learning

Judith C. Bruce, Evelyn B. Chilemba


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to determine the learning styles that nursing graduates employed during the course of their BSN programme.

Methods: Within a sequential, explanatory mixed methods design a survey was administered to determine graduates’ learning styles. From a population of 384 graduates, a sample of 200 agreed to participate. Data were collected using the Grasha-Riechmann Learning Styles Scales. MS Excel was used to enter the learning styles scores; descriptive statistics were computed using the statistical package SPSS Version 16.0.

Results: The most dominant and preferred learning styles are Competitive learning style (x̄ = 3.98; SD = 0.52) and Avoidant learning style (x̄ = 3.88; SD = 0.68). Both are teacher-centered learning styles that do not promote learner independence, confidence, critical thinking and active learning. The least preferred is the Independent Learning Style (x̄ = 2.84; SD = 0.80). Implications for student-centered learning are inferred from the results.

Conclusions: Graduates’ preference for the Competitive and Avoidant learning styles reflects an alignment with a teacher-centered paradigm and lack of diversity in use of learning styles during their study. The preferred learning styles detract from student-centered learning and point to an approach to teaching that integrates Socratic and facilitative methods to promote diversity of learning styles. As the educational paradigm shifts towards student-centered learning there is mounting pressure on educators to have better understanding on students’ preferred learning styles and adopt variety of pedagogical strategies to optimize ways students learn.


Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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