Are learning style preferences of health science students predictive of their attitudes towards e-learning?


The objective for this study was to determine whether learning style preferences of health science students could predict their attitudes to e-learning. A survey comprising the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) and the Online Learning Environment Survey (OLES) was distributed to 2885 students enrolled in 10 different health science programs at an Australian university. A total of 822 useable surveys were returned generating a response rate of 29.3%. Using SPSS, a linear regression analysis was completed. On the ILS Active-Reflective dimension, 44% of health science students reported a preference as being active learners, 60% as sensing learners, and 64% as sequential learners. Students' attitudes toward e-learning using the OLES showed that their preferred scores for all 9 subscales were higher than their actual scores. The linear regression analysis results indicated that ILS learning styles accounted for a small percentage of the OLES actual and preferred subscales' variance. For the OLES actual subscales, the ILS Active-Reflective and Sensing-Intuitive learning style dimensions were the most frequent predictors of health science students' attitudes towards e-learning. For the OLES preferred subscales, ILS Active-Reflective and Sequential-Global learning style dimensions accounted for the most frequent source of variance. It appears that the learning styles of health science students (as measured by the ILS) can be used only to a limited extent as a predictor of students' attitudes towards e-learning. Nevertheless, educators should still consider student learning styles in the context of using technology for instructional purposes.

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