African Journal of Health Professions Education

The AJOL site is currently undergoing a major upgrade, and there will temporarily be some restrictions to the available functionality.
-- Users will not be able to register or log in during this period.
-- Full text (PDF) downloads of Open Access journal articles will be available as always.
-- Full text (PDF) downloads of subscription based journal articles will NOT be available
We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Please check back soon, as we will revert to usual policy as soon as possible.

Learning styles of physiotherapy students and teaching styles of their lecturers in undergraduate gross anatomy education

D.A. Shead, R Roos, B Olivier, A.O. Ihunwo


Background. Anatomy is essential to prepare physiotherapy students for future clinical practice. Student learning styles and lecturer teaching styles may influence learning outcomes.

Objective. To determine if the learning style of this student population is consistent and compatible with lecturers’ teaching styles for better learning outcomes.

Methods. A descriptive cross-sectional study was undertaken during 2015 and 2016. The Grasha-Riechmann learning style scale (GRLSS) and Grasha-Riechmann teaching style scale (GRTSS) were used to measure learning styles of two consecutive physiotherapy student cohorts and teaching styles of their anatomy lecturers, respectively.

Results. Student samples were small (group 1: N=59 and group 2: N=54), but response rates high (n=39; 66.1% and n=43; 81.5%) in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Mean Likert scores for GRLSS indicated that the most popular choice for learning style was the dependent style (mean (standard deviation) 3.81 (0.75)) for group 1 and the independent style (3.68 (0.61)) for group 2. Female students preferred the dependent style (group 1: n=12; 30.8% and group 2: n=10; 23.3%) and male students the participant style (group 2: n=6; 14%) of learning. Lecturers scored highest in the expert category of teaching styles. Compatibility between learning and teaching styles was seen in both years based on comparisons made using teaching style clusters, where the identified GRLSS and GRTSS were grouped together and seen to fit into specific cluster categories.

Conclusion. Consistency in learning style choice was observed. A degree of cohesion between student learning styles and their respective lecturers’ teaching styles augured well for good interaction between staff and students.
AJOL African Journals Online