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How learning style affects evidence-based medicine: a survey study

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Author(s): Zwolsman Sandra | van Dijk Nynke | Verhoeven Anita | de Ruijter Wouter | Wieringa-de Waard Margreet

Journal: BMC Medical Education
ISSN 1472-6920

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 81;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Learning styles determine how people manage new information. Evidence-based medicine (EBM) involves the management of information in clinical practice. As a consequence, the way in which a person uses EBM can be related to his or her learning style. In order to tailor EBM education to the individual learner, this study aims to determine whether there is a relationship between an individual's learning style and EBM competence (knowledge/skills, attitude, behaviour). Methods In 2008, we conducted a survey among 140 novice GP trainees in order to assess their EBM competence and learning styles (Accommodator, Diverger, Assimilator, Converger, or mixed learning style). Results The trainees' EBM knowledge/skills (scale 0-15; mean 6.8; 95%CI 6.4-7.2) were adequate and their attitudes towards EBM (scale 0-100; mean 63; 95%CI 61.3-64.3) were positive. We found no relationship between their knowledge/skills or attitudes and their learning styles (p = 0.21; p = 0.19). Of the trainees, 40% used guidelines to answer clinical questions and 55% agreed that the use of guidelines is the most appropriate way of applying EBM in general practice. Trainees preferred using evidence from summaries to using evidence from single studies. There were no differences in medical decision-making or in EBM use (p = 0.59) for the various learning styles. However, we did find a link between having an Accommodating or Converging learning style and making greater use of intuition. Moreover, trainees with different learning styles expressed different ideas about the optimal use of EBM in primary care. Conclusions We found that EBM knowledge/skills and EBM attitudes did not differ with respect to the learning styles of GP trainees. However, we did find differences relating to the use of intuition and the trainees' ideas regarding the use of evidence in decision-making.
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