Changes in learning styles during pre-registration occupational therapy education

Watson, J., Chapman, J. and Adams., J. (2006) Changes in learning styles during pre-registration occupational therapy education At 14th Congress of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT). 23 - 28 Jul 2006.


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Learning styles are described as the preferred or characteristic manner in which an individual approaches tasks or learning situations. Recognised approaches to learning include a surface approach involving rote memorisation; a deep approach seeking meaning and conceptual understanding; and a strategic approach focusing on the expedient achievement of high grades (Marton & Säljä 1976; Newbel & Entwistle 1986). The deep approach to learning is most likely to be encouraged by occupational therapy (OT) educators because it is the most conducive to successful academic & professional development. Although research in this field has been ongoing for a number of decades, application and testing of theoretical principles within the education of the allied health professions is limited.

This longitudinal cohort study examined the learning style preferences of pre-registration OT students over the three years of an undergraduate BSc (Hons) programme. Learning style characteristics were identified using repeat measures of the Approaches to Studying Inventory (Entwistle & Ramsden 1983) questionnaire. Statistical analysis of the data revealed moderate changes in study skills across the three years that are associated with more successful learning outcomes. While the increase in the mean for the ‘prediction of success’ composite score was not significant between year one and year three, operational learning (p < 0.005) and learning pathologies (p < 0.05) were significantly reduced.

The implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the delivery of undergraduate OT education and with regard to ongoing professional development and reflective practice in qualifying clinicians.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Additional Information: The information outlined in this presentation was further developed an subsequently published as: Chapman J; Watson J; Adams J (2006) Exploring Changes in Occupational Therapy Students’ Approaches to Learning. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(10), p 457-463.
Venue - Dates: 14th Congress of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), 2006-07-23 - 2006-07-28
Related URLs:
Keywords: Approaches to learning, Occupational Therapy education
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
ePrint ID: 55738
Date :
Date Event
26 July 2006Published
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:42
Further Information:Google Scholar

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