Learning preference as a predictor of academic performance in first year accelerated graduate entry nursing students: A prospective follow-up study

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Journal Article
Nurse Education Today, 2011, 31 (6), pp. 611 - 616
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The growth of accelerated graduate entry nursing programs has challenged traditional approaches to teaching and learning. To date, limited research has been undertaken in the role of learning preferences, language proficiency and academic performance in accelerated programs. Sixty-two first year accelerated graduate entry nursing students, in a single cohort at a university in the western region of Sydney, Australia, were surveyed to assess their learning preference using the Visual, Aural, Read/write and Kinaesthetic (VARK) learning preference questionnaire, together with sociodemographic data, English language acculturation and perceived academic control. Six months following course commencement, the participant's grade point average (GPA) was studied as a measurement of academic performance. A 93% response rate was achieved. The majority of students (62%) reported preference for multiple approaches to learning with the kinaesthetic sensory mode a significant (p=0.009) predictor of academic performance. Students who spoke only English at home had higher mean scores across two of the four categories of VARK sensory modalities, visual and kinaesthetic compared to those who spoke non-English. Further research is warranted to investigate the reasons why the kinaesthetic sensory mode is a predictor of academic performance and to what extent the VARK mean scores of the four learning preference(s) change with improved English language proficiency. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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