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Project Title: Gender Differences in Learning Style Preferences among Medical Students Names of Investigators: Investigators: Mr. Tan Jin Rong * Ms. Syarifah Fatin Amalin bt. Syed Amran * Ms. Suhana bt. Hassan * Ms. Siti Nurdhuha bt. Anuar * Guide: Mr. James Gonsalves, MSc Selection Grade Lecturer of Physiology Department, MMMC (Manipal Campus) * MBBS Students, Batch 28 Melaka Manipal Medical College (MMMC) Manipal Campus, Manipal University.

In the millennium era where certificates and brilliant exam results become the prior credentials for human being capabilities, one of the things that enable a person to obtain those is by learning, studying, gain knowledge or any other words that has same meaning. But based on distinction in number females and males attending the university, it seems like females have better chance to excel in life. So, what makes the difference? Thus we come to a conclusion that the dissimilarity derive from the gender itself. According to Dr. John Gray author of the best seller "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus", males have a preference for rational evaluation and logic whereas females use elaborative processing in which they seek personal relevance. This sort of preference is influencing the learning style for both males and females. Consequently, male and female students have significantly different learning styles. Basically, learning style or learning preference is the way we tend to learn best. It involves our preferred method of taking in, organizing, and making sense of information. Learning styles do not tell us about a persons abilities or intelligence, but it can be used to understand why some tasks seem easy to one person and complex to another. Meanwhile, student can learn most effectively when the strategies used are closely matched with their preferred learning style. Teaching approaches also can be improved to meet the different learning style preferences of the student. Individual learning style preferences can be categorized into four modes, visual (V; learning from graphs, charts, and flow diagrams), auditory (A; learning from speech), read-write (R; learning from reading and writing), and kinesthetic (K; learning from touch, hearing, smell, taste, and sight). These preferences can be assessed using the VARK questionnaire. The Visual Learner (V) learns through seeing. These learners can either process information randomly or absorb what unfolds in sequence before their eyes. They need to see the teacher's body 2

language and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson. They tend to prefer sitting at the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions (e.g. people's heads). The Auditory Learner (A) learns through listening. The auditory learner needs to be able to focus on what is being said, and may find taking in information through the other senses at the same time distracting. The Auditory learner processes new information in the order in which it is presented, but also benefits from verbal discussion following the presentation. They learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances. Written information may have little meaning until it is heard. The Kinesthetic Learners (K) learns through moving, doing, and touching. These students like a "hands-on approach to learning. They learn best by doing, by being directly or emotionally involved in their learning. They process information as their body moves. Because the entire body is involved, this type of student takes longer to process new information. The Read-Write Learners learns through interactions with textual materials. Student learners are capable of using all of these sensory modes of learning; however, each individual has a unique preference, or set of preferences, in which one mode is often dominant. Learners with a single learning style preference are referred to as unimodal, whereas others preferring a variety of styles are known as multimodal. Of the multimodal learners, there are sub classifications for bi-, tri-, and quadmodal learners, who prefer to use two, three, or four styles, respectively. In 2006, a study was conducted to assess the learning styles preferences among undergraduate physiology majors enrolled in a capstone physiology laboratory at Michigan State University; 48 of the 86 students (55.8%) who returned the completed questionnaire voluntarily offered gender information. It is discovered that among the female students, 4.2% of the students preferred V, 0% of the students preferred A, 16.7% of the students preferred printed words R, and 33.3% of the students preferred using 3

all their senses (K). In contrast, male students were evenly distributed in preferences, with 4.2% of the students preferring A, R, K, respectively, while 0% of the students preferred V. Furthermore, 45.8% of female and 87.5% of male respondents preferred multiple modes of presentation. In summary, a majority of male students preferred multimodal instruction, specifically, four modes (VARK), whereas a majority of female students preferred single-mode instruction with a preference towards K. In a nut shell, students can learn more effectively if they are aware and practice their learning style preferences. As males and females have significant different in learning style preferences, both gender should work together to get best outcome in learning process.


1. To study the different types of individual learning style preference. 2. To assessed the gender difference in learning style preference. 3. To identify the gender variation in multiple modes of information presentation.

Males and females have different learning style preferences.


Study design: Observational cross-sectional Study setting: Interact building, Manipal University Duration of study: 3 months Study subjects: First year MBBS student of Melaka Manipal Medical College from batch 29 and batch 30 Sample size: 200 students Data collection methods: We will administer the VARK questionnaire as a hard copy to the students that will be completed in the lecture hall. Methods of data analysis: Data are reported as percentages of students in each category in learning style preference. The number of students who preferred each mode of learning was divided by the total number of responses to determine the percentage.

Ethical Considerations
Several steps will be done to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the students who take part in this research. This research will be carried out by administering questionnaire as a hard copy to the students and complete in the lecture hall. Permission letter of carrying this research will be sent to the authority concerned.

The information of the subjects that will be collected through the questionnaire are age and gender. After that, the data are going to be reported as percentages of students in each category of learning style preference. The number of students who preferred each mode of learning was divided by the total number of responses to determine percentage. The name and roll number of the subjects will not be asked in the questionnaire to protect the privacy of the subjects. The data exposed to the public is only the data that had been processed.

The present study is to be submitted for Institutional Research Committee (IRC) approval.

Evaluation of Learning Style for First Year Medical Students by Mary Johnson Indiana University School of Medicine Terre Haute, Indiana, USA. Link:

First-year medical students prefer multiple learning style by Heidi L. Lujan and Stephen E. DiCarlo. Link: advan.physiology.org/content/30/1/13.full

Gender differences in learning style preferences among undergraduate physiology students by Erica A. Wehrwein, Heidi L.Lujan and Stephen E.Dicarlo Department of physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing Department of Physiology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. Link: http://advan.physiology.org/content/31/2/153

Title: The learning styles questionnaire: by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, Maidenhead, 2001

Title: Learning styles and strategies: a review of research by Philip Adey et al ion info. London : King's College London, School of Education, 1999

The VARK Questionnaire. http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=questionnaire

General practitioners and their learning styles by A. R LEWIS K. J. BOLDEN Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, May 1989 187

How Can Physicians Learning Styles Drive Educational Planning? Elizabeth Armstrong, PhD, and Ramin Parsa-Parsi, MD, MPH (MEDLINE)

The VARK Questionnaire
Age: ____ Gender: _____________

Choose the answer which best explains your preference and circle the letter(s) next to it. Please circle more than one if a single answer does not match your perception. Leave blank any question that does not apply. 1. You are helping someone who wants to go to your airport, the center of town or railway station. You would: a. Go with her. b. Tell her the directions. c. Write down the directions. d. Draw, or give her a map. 2. You are not sure whether a word should be spelled `dependent' or `dependant'. You would: a. See the words in your mind and choose by the way they look. b. Think about how each word sounds and choose one. c. Find it online or in a dictionary. d. Write both words on paper and choose one. 3. You are planning a vacation for a group. You want some feedback from them about the plan. You would: a. Describe some of the highlights. b. Use a map or website to show them the places. c. Give them a copy of the printed itinerary. d. Phone, text or email them. 4. You are going to cook something as a special treat for your family. You would: a. Cook something you know without the need for instructions. b. Ask friends for suggestions. c. Look through the cookbook for ideas from the pictures. d. Use a cookbook where you know there is a good recipe. 5. A group of tourists want to learn about the parks or wildlife reserves in your area. You would: a. Talk about, or arrange a talk for them about parks or wildlife reserves. b. Show them internet pictures, photographs or picture books. c. Take them to a park or wildlife reserve and walk with them. d. Give them a book or pamphlets about the parks or wildlife reserves.

6. You are about to purchase a digital camera or mobile phone. Other than price, what would most influence your decision? a. Trying or testing it. b. Reading the details about its features. c. It is a modern design and looks good. d. The salesperson telling me about its features. 9

7. Remember a time when you learned how to do something new. Try to avoid choosing a physical skill, e.g. riding a bike. You learned best by: a. Watching a demonstration. b. Listening to somebody explaining it and asking questions. c. Diagrams and charts - visual clues. d. Written instructions e.g. a manual or textbook. 8. You have a problem with your heart. You would prefer that the doctor: a. Gave you a something to read to explain what was wrong b. Used a plastic model to show what was wrong. c. Described what was wrong. d. Showed you a diagram of what was wrong. 9. You want to learn a new program, skill or game on a computer. You would: a. Read the written instructions that came with the program. b. Talk with people who know about the program. c. Use the controls or keyboard. d. Follow the diagrams in the book that came with it. 10. I like websites that have: a. Things I can click on, shift or try. b. Interesting design and visual features. c. Interesting written descriptions, lists and explanations. d. Audio channels where I can hear music, radio programs or interviews. 11. Other than price, what would most influence your decision to buy a new non-fiction book? a. The way it looks is appealing. b. Quickly reading parts of it. c. A friend talks about it and recommends it. d. It has real-life stories, experiences and examples. 12. You are using a book, CD or website to learn how to take photos with your new digital camera. You would like to have: a. A chance to ask questions and talk about the camera and its features. b. Clear written instructions with lists and bullet points about what to do. c. Diagrams showing the camera and what each part does. d. Many examples of good and poor photos and how to improve them. 13. Do you prefer a teacher or a presenter who uses: a. Demonstrations, models or practical sessions. b. Question and answer, talk, group discussion, or guest speakers. c. Handouts, books, or readings. d. Diagrams, charts or graphs. 14. You have finished a competition or test and would like some feedback. You would like to have feedback: a. Using examples from what you have done. b. Using a written description of your results. c. From somebody who talks it through with you. d. Using graphs showing what you had achieved. 10

15. You are going to choose food at a restaurant or cafe. You would: a. Choose something that you have had there before. b. Listen to the waiter or ask friends to recommend choices. c. Choose from the descriptions in the menu. d. Look at what others are eating or look at pictures of each dish. 16. You have to make an important speech at a conference or special occasion. You would: a. Make diagrams or get graphs to help explain things. b. Write a few key words and practice saying your speech over and over. c. Write out your speech and learn from reading it over several times. d. Gather many examples and stories to make the talk real and practical.