A COMPARISON BETWEEN LEARNING STYLE PREFERENCES OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS FROM THREE DIFFERENT ROMANIAN FACULTIES – USING VARK
Objective: University teachers are often faced with challenges of improving student satisfaction with the learning environment. On the other hand, students adapt specific learning styles to keep pace with the information delivered to them in their institutions. The aim of this study is to know the differences in learning styles between students from three different Romanian faculties. Methodology: A cross-sectional survey was carried out among students. The VARK Questionnaire version 7.0 (Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic) was administered to the first year dental and dental technicians students at University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila” Bucharest and first year chemistry students at the University of Bucharest for determining the preferred learning methods of students participating in this study. Results: According to the VARK questionnaire, students were divided into five groups (visual learners, read-write learners, auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, and multimodal learners). The unimodality preference was 45.7% and multimodality was 54.3%. Among the students who participated in the study (153 students), 19.2% were auditory, 12.6% were visual, 8.6% were kinesthetic, and 5.3% were read-write learners. Some students preferred multiple modes: bimodal (3.3%) and quadmodal (51%). The responses were tallied and assessed for faculty difference in learning style preference; Among the chemistry students, 15.4% of the students preferred visual (V), 23.1% of the students preferred aural (A), 5.8 % of the students preferred printed words (R), and 1.9 % of the students were kinesthetic (K). Among the dental technicians students, 11.4% of the students preferred V, 15.9% of the students preferred A, 4.5 % of the students preferred R, and 18.2% of the students preferred K. Among the chemistry students, 10.7% of the students preferred V, 19.6 % of the students preferred A, 5.4 % of the students preferred R, and 7.1% of the students were K). Furthermore, 53.8% of chemistry, 50% of dental technicians and 57.1% of dental students preferred multiple modes [chemistry: 2 modes (1.9%), 3 modes (0%), and 4 modes (51.9%); dental technicians: 2 modes (4.5%), 3 modes (0%), and 4 modes (45.4%); dental students: 2 modes (3.6%), 3 modes (0%), and 4 modes (53.6%)] of presentation. Conclusion: Knowing different preferred learning modes of undergraduate students will help the instructors to address this diversity of learning styles and develop appropriate learning approaches.