PREFERRED LEARNING STYLES OF STUDENTS MAJORING IN CHEMISTRY, PHARMACY, TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN
Research on students’ preferences in learning styles is a topical issue of modern education because understanding the learning styles promotes individualisation of the teaching process. The existing preferences in learning styles of students of four areas of training have been studied by the Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Styles. Technology students have the most balanced learning profile: the preference of any style in all dimensions does not exceed 70%. Future chemists and pharmacists are characterised by the apparent preferences of visual, sensitive and active styles (at the level of 80%), as well as a moderate preference of sequential style (~70%). Design students exhibit distinct domination of visual style (>95%) over verbal one (<5%). In three other dimensions, a moderate preference (60-70%) of active, sensitive and sequential styles over reflective, intuitive and global styles is observed. Relative invariance of learning styles has been proved by the results of the survey for pharmacy students: the dominant styles are poorly changed during four years of undergraduate study. Increasing reflectivity, intuitiveness and verbality becomes significant for the fifth year of study. However, such changes may be related not so much to the transformation of personality characteristics, but are caused by the additional selection of students when they join their graduate school. The problem of optimal choice of electronic resources for teaching chemistry was illustrated for future chemists and pharmacists with different preferences in a sensitive-intuitive dimension. One preferred learning style (more than 90% of students are sensitive) dominates among pharmacy students, while up to 20% of chemists have a pronounced intuitive type of learning. The pedagogical approaches, methods and electronic resources for teaching chemistry, are discussed for students of both specialities.
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