Learning style preferences of athletic training students and athletic traing educators: Similarities, differences and impact on academic performance
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Academic researchers' interest in learning styles has led educators to realize the positive influence of learning styles on educational outcomes and on creating effective learning environments. However, learning styles related to athletic training education is relatively unexplored. The purpose of the current study was to examine the learning style preferences of athletic training students and athletic training educators. This study focused on two main points: (a) similarities and differences between learning style preferences of four levels of academic achievement of athletic training students; and (b) the similarities and differences between learning style preferences of athletic training students and athletic training educators. Athletic training students (n==531) and educators (n=127) from accredited Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and approved National Athletic Trainers' Association athletic training education programs participated in this study. Participants completed a two-part survey: a background information questionnaire and Kolb's Learning Style Inventory (LSI, 1993). Four levels of academic achievement were measured using GPA for each student. Findings identified a stronger Abstract Conceptualization-Concrete Experience (AC-CE) continuum versus the Active Experimentation - Reflective Observation (AERO) continuum. This inferred that the AC-CE continuum has a greater impact on student's academic achievement than the AE-RO continuum. Analysis of Variance tests identified statistically significant findings supporting the idea that the AC-CE continuum is positively linked to academic achievement for this sample of athletic training students and educators. Findings showed significant gender differences in learning style preferences. Predominant learning style preferences for athletic training students and educators were not observed, possibly due to the diverse nature of the athletic training profession. This study and its application of learning style preferences has practical implications for athletic training students, educators, and university administrators. Information related to incorporating learning style information into the classroom, providing educational opportunities related to the impact of learning styles on student performance, encouraging research in the classroom, and education on individual learning style preferences: utilizing strengths and developing weaknesses are discussed.