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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 40-44

Assessment of performance of dental students of different learning styles using different teaching aids


1 Department of Prosthodontics, VSPM Dental College and Research Centre, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, VSPM Dental College and Research Centre, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication11-Oct-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anita Rama Kahar
Hansapuri Jyotinagar Khadan, Near Durga Devi Temple, Nagpur, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijmd.ijmd_18_19

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  Abstract 


Background: In this innovative era of teaching and learning, today's teaching methodology has shifted from chalk and board to modern teaching. Due to the introduction of dental education technology, teachers training programs, conferences on teaching, the teaching has been modified a lot. The teachers deliver a multimodal type of lecture which suits to each student's learning style. The teachers deliver best to each and every student by taking the help of new innovative ideas and technology. Hence, this study was conducted to find the performance of students when they were taught in current teaching way and when they were taught according to their learning style.
Aims and Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the performance of students when they were taught by current teaching and in their own learning styles.
Methodology: An experimental study was conducted among first-year BDS students of VSPM DCRC, Nagpur, Maharashtra. VARK questionnaire was used to assess the learning style. The students were divided into control and learning style groups, and a pretest was conducted. The control group was taught by current teaching practice and the learning style group was taught as per their learning styles, and the posttest was conducted. Pre- and posttest results were compared.
Results: Posttest results of both the groups were found to be statistically nonsignificant ( P = 0.9344).
Conclusion: By getting the results, we can make the conclusion that current teaching and teaching in learning style of students are beneficial to all students of different learning styles.

Keywords: Current teaching practices; dental students; learning styles; performance; VARK questionnaire


How to cite this article:
Kahar AR, Joshi J, Chahande J, Kolte V, Radke U. Assessment of performance of dental students of different learning styles using different teaching aids. Indian J Multidiscip Dent 2019;9:40-4

How to cite this URL:
Kahar AR, Joshi J, Chahande J, Kolte V, Radke U. Assessment of performance of dental students of different learning styles using different teaching aids. Indian J Multidiscip Dent [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Dec 10];9:40-4. Available from: http://www.ijmdent.com/text.asp?2019/9/1/40/268985




  Introduction Top


“Good teaching is 1/4 preparation and 3/4 theatre.”

……… Gail Godwin


Very truly framed sentence by Gail Godwin, which denotes our current teaching–learning methods. Today's teaching methodology has shifted from chalk and board to modern teaching. The introduction of dental education technology, teachers training programs, conferences on teaching, the teaching has been modified a lot. The teachers in their PowerPoint presentation during lecture not only include the text but also there is an inclusion of audio–visual aids, study cases of patients, animations, and discussion with students. Conjointly, the teachers give exposure to students in the clinics and dental laboratories to show them the actual procedures. Furthermore, there is an involvement of display of different materials and instruments. Therefore, today's teaching is multimodal which suits to each student's learning style. The teachers are devoting themselves for delivering the best to each and every student by taking the help of new innovative ideas and technology for the betterment of students. Hence, this study was conducted to find the performance of students when they were taught according to the current teaching practice and when they were taught according to their own learning styles.

Aim

The aim of this study was to assess the performance of dental students of different learning styles using different teaching aids.

Objectives

  • To assess the performance of dental students by current teaching practices
  • To assess the performance of students when they were taught in their own learning styles (i.e., visual, auditory, read and write, and kinesthetic learning style)
  • To compare the performance of students by current teaching practice and teaching according to their own learning style.



  Methodology Top


The institutional ethical committee approval was obtained. An experimental study was conducted among first-year BDS students of VSPM DCRC, Nagpur, Maharashtra. The inclusion criterion was the entire willing and present first-year BDS students on the day of the study conduction. The exclusion criterion was unwilling and absent students on the day of the study conduction. The study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, the study instrument used was the VARK questionnaire[1] to identify the students learning style, the sensory modality by which they prefer to take in information. The VARK questionnaire is 13-item, self-reported, multiple choice questionnaire that can be completed in 10–15 min. The submitted questionnaires were scored and tabulated to find the learning styles. After getting the results, the learning style was briefed to the students. On this day, 82 students were participated.

In the second phase, where we have to assess the students' performance, 77 students were participated in this activity. The study instrument used was a validated open-ended questionnaire of twenty marks. For evaluation of the students, they were divided into control group and learning style group, and a pretest was conducted for both the groups. After that, the control group was taught by current teaching practice and the learning style group was taught as per their learning styles. After this activity, both the groups performed the posttest. The pretest and posttest results were compared.


  Results Top


First phase results

There were about 82 students on the day of VARK questionnaire distribution. Of 82, 67 were female and 15 were male. Of the total students, 45 (55%) were unimodal type of learners (visual – 6 [13%], auditory – 13 [29%], read/write – 11 [24%], and kinesthetic – 15 [33%]) and 37 (45%) were multimodal (23 [28%] were bimodal, 6 [7%] were trimodal, and 8 [10%] were quadrimodal type of learners) as shown in [Table 1].
Table 1: Learning styles of students by using VARK questionnaires

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Second phase results

Evaluation of student's performance – There were about 77 students present on the day of this activity. The students were divided into control group of 39 students and learning style group of 38 students (visual learners – 6, auditory learners – 11, read/write learners – 9, and kinesthetic learners – 12). For the evaluation, one open-ended validated questionnaire of maximum marks 20 was designed. One scale was made to grade their performance ( excellent performance = 15–20 marks, good to average performance = 10–14 marks, and poor performance = 0–9 marks).

Pretest results

The pretest results of both the groups were in the third grade, i.e., poor performance.

Posttest results

To find the significance level, open EPI calculator was used, and the data were inserted to assess the result. The pretest and posttest results of the individual groups were found to be statistically significant ( P < 0.0000001) as shown in [Table 2] and [Table 3]. However, when we compared the posttest results of control and learning style groups, it was found statistically nonsignificant ( P = 0.9344) as shown in [Table 4], i.e., the posttest performance of both the groups was found to be more or less same.
Table 2: Pre- and posttest performance of control group

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Table 3: Pre- and posttest performance of learning style group

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Table 4: Posttest performance of control and learning style group

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  Discussion Top


Teaching styles have changed significantly over the years. The traditional way of education was delivered through recitation and memorization techniques, whereas the modern way of doing things involves interactive methods. The old-style “chalk and talk” methodology of teaching that is persisted for many years is currently getting inferior results when compared with the additional trendy revolutionary teaching strategies that are available for use in schools today. Greater student interaction is inspired, the boundaries of authority are being weakened, and attention on enjoyment over grades is emphasized.[2]

Theoretically, in the true lecture, slight or no active student participation is involved. The lecture is outlined loosely as a seamless verbal presentation of data of knowledge and concepts by the professor; it is presumably a synthesis of his own reading, research, and experiences, interpreted in light of his own insights.[3] However, in this modern era, this traditional way of teaching has shifted from chalk and board to PowerPoint presentation which incorporates audio–visual aids, recorded patient procedures, animations, and students interaction during the lecture to help the students for better understanding and learning. Due to this, the students of all learning styles find it easier for learning.

To give comment on the control group of our study, the result was very good. Of 39 students, there were about 25 (64%) and 13 (33%) showed excellent and good performance, respectively. There was only 1 (3%) student who was in the poor category, whereas in learning style group 18 (47%) and 18 (47%) showed excellent and good performance, respectively, and 2 (5%) were in the poor category as shown in [Table 5]. The results showed that both the ways of teaching were good. By these results, the authors want to comment that although the current teaching involves all the learning styles of the students, not only the students should know their learning styles but also the educators should also be aware of it. This is not only for the students for their self-awareness but also for the educators who could consciously update the teaching materials. It is rightly said by Hawk and Shah that faculty who are consciously aware of their students' learning styles as well as their own are in a position to make more informed choices in course material, design, and learning processes to broaden the opportunities for effective learning in their courses.[4]
Table 5: Posttest performance of control and learning style group

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This recognition will also help the dental educators to learn more about their students, reflect on the effectiveness of their methods of instruction, and consider accommodating a variety of learning preference modalities. All of this knowledge will help them to develop more effective curricular approaches.[5],[6] However, the fact that cannot be ignored is that the university has decided certain curriculum hours for teaching which will be difficult for the faculty to teach each and every topic to the students in their learning style and most of the topics cannot be taught in individual learning styles. In our study, the learning style group and the control group results were more or less same which showed that students of different learning styles grasp the things by the way we teach nowadays. However, this method can be employed for some topics and also for the students who are not performing well. For the students of read/write group, different sources of reading materials should have to be provided. The author want to share that after this activity, we interviewed the students of learning group; according to them, they liked the way of teaching in their learning styles, but they showed their interest of learning in a multimodal way. That is what we do in our nowadays' teaching.

Al-Saud[7] in his study informed their students that the learning reference results were a method for self-knowledge and were not intended to limit or label them to a certain mode of learning. VARK results can provide a vehicle for self-knowledge and help to explore opportunities for making the dental educational experience both more productive and enjoyable for students and faculty members.[5] According to Fleming and Baume,[8] knowing one's learning style can be beneficial if learners take the next step and consider how and when they learn as part of a reflective, metacognitive process, with action to follow. It is the beginning of a dialogue, not a measure of personality. However, Stellwagen[9] warned against misapplication of learning style inventories that may lead to stereotyping and prejudicial labeling of individuals. It may obscure the understanding that learning style evolves over one's life and one's academic/professional career. Some researchers have suggested that the student's strongly preferred mode may not always be the best way to learn, depending on particular circumstances. Students may need to adapt to learning modalities differing from their preferences because of real-life environmental constraints. Some dental students may undergo a shift in learning preferences, as the learning environment changes from lecture hall to preclinical laboratory to patient clinic.[5] The most effective learners are able to adapt to the style that the learning situation requires. Teachers can help them develop strategies for adapting to differing situations, especially when learning styles do not fit the task.[10] Grasha suggests that some faculty members introduce different modes of instructional delivery to acknowledge the diversity of the learners that they teach.[11] If teachers use a variety of teaching methods and styles, learners are exposed to familiar and unfamiliar ways of learning that provide comfort and tension during the process, ultimately giving the learners multiple ways to excel.[10]

There were a number of studies have been conducted till now to assess the relation of learning style and their academic success. Where we can see the varied results? Nasiri et al.[12] in their study found a significant relationship between visual learning style preference and the mean of students' final examination scores. A study in India[13] of undergraduate medical students found no statistical association between learning style preference and academic performance based on grades. In addition, two other studies on students in physiology classes found no association between learning styles and course scores.[14],[15] A study by Alkhasawneh et al.[16] found that students with multimodal learning style performed better in a nursing course. While Al-Saud[7] in his study found a lower mean grade point average (GPA) (4.648) among students who preferred a single mode of learning, a higher mean GPA (4.819) was found among students with multiple (quadmodal) learning style preferences.

Among the first-year medical students, Baykan and Naçar[17] did not find any significant differences in the first-semester GPA and learning styles of the first-year medical students. Furthermore, the study conducted by Liew et al.[18] at the Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, revealed that the learning preferences (styles and approaches) of the students did not contribute significantly toward their learning outcomes.

In all the studies, the relation of students' learning styles and academic performance was observed, but the present study is one of its kinds where the faculty not only grouped the students according to their learning styles but also taught them in their learning styles and accessed their performance.

Today; the teachers by taking the help new and innovative ideas do the modification in their teaching to help out the students in understanding. However, at the same time, whatever modifications that the educators are doing should be got evaluated by the students regularly so that if any modification is required, it can be integrated or withdrawn for the better academic success of the students.

Limitations and future directions

The study sample group was less. The study result is based on teaching on one topic only. Hence, the study results cannot be generalized for all the dental students. The study can be extended by taking a large sample size and also taking more topics for the evaluation of the performance of the students.


  Conclusion Top


The performance of learning style group and control group of students was good. Hence, we can conclude that teaching the students of this era in today's way of lecture techniques is beneficial to the students. At the same time, the learning style of students should be known to both teacher and students for the self-knowledge, so that the students can learn more productively. For the read/write group, more study materials can be provided for better performance. At the same time, the students and teacher should be aware of that the learning preference can shift to other as the students go in higher academic classes when they enter in the clinics and learn by working on the patients. Hence, having the learning style does not mean that you can learn in that way only and you cannot perform better in other way of learning.

Acknowledgments

The authors sincerely thank first-year BDS students for their active participation in the study and the interns for helping out in the smooth conduction of the study in different halls.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Fleming ND, Mills C. Not Another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection; 1992. Available from: http://www.digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/vie wcontent.cgi?Article1245&contextpodimproveacad. [Last accessed on 2015 May 01].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Teaching Methods: Traditional vs. modern; 31, July 2017. Available from: https://www.ccss.co.uk/news/traditional-vs-modern-teaching/. [Last accessed on 2018 April 19].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Sutherland TM. Invitational Paper on The Lecture Method Presented in NACTA Conference Held At Texas Tech University. NACTA Journal; 1976. Available from: https://www.nactateachers.org/attachments/article/1514/Sutherland_NACTA_Journal_September_1976-8.pdf. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 04].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Hawk TF, Shah AJ. Using learning style instruments to enhance student learning. Decis Sci J Innov Educ 2007;5:1-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Murphy RJ, Gray SA, Straja SR, Bogert MC. Student learning preferences and teaching implications. J Dent Educ 2004;68:859-66.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Miller P. Learning Styles: The Multimedia of the Mind- Research Report. January, 2001. Available from: http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED451140.pdf. [Last accessed on 2012 Jan 12].  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Al-Saud LM. Learning style preferences of first-year dental students at King Saud university in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Influence of gender and GPA. J Dent Educ 2013;77:1371-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Fleming N, Baume D. Learning styles again: VARKing up the right tree! Educ Dev 2006;7:4.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Stellwagen JB. A challenge to the learning style advocates. Clearing House 2001;74:265-8.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Vaughn L, Baker R. Teaching in the medical setting: Balancing teaching styles, learning styles and teaching methods. Med Teach 2001;23:610-2.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Grasha T. The naturalistic approach to learning styles. Coll Teach 1990;38:106-13.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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Nasiri Z, Gharekhani S, Ghasempour M. Relationship between learning style and academic status of Babol dental students. Electron Physician 2016;8:2340-5.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Urval RP, Kamath A, Ullal S, Shenoy AK, Shenoy N, Udupa LA. Assessment of learning styles of undergraduate medical students using the VARK questionnaire and the influence of sex and academic performance. Adv Physiol Educ 2014;38:216-20.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Dobson JL. A comparison between learning style preferences and sex, status, and course performance. Adv Physiol Educ 2010;34:197-204.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Dobson JL. Learning style preferences and course performance in an undergraduate physiology class. Adv Physiol Educ 2009;33:308-14.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
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Alkhasawneh IM, Mrayyan MT, Docherty C, Alashram S, Yousef HY. Problem-based learning (PBL): Assessing students' learning preferences using VARK. Nurse Educ Today 2008;28:572-9.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
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Baykan Z, Naçar M. Learning styles of first-year medical students attending Erciyes university in kayseri, turkey. Adv Physiol Educ 2007;31:158-60.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
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Liew SC, Sidhu J, Barua A. The relationship between learning preferences (styles and approaches) and learning outcomes among pre-clinical undergraduate medical students. BMC Med Educ 2015;15:44.  Back to cited text no. 18
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]



 

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