Learning styles and the promotion of effective learning environments have been a focus of research for many decades. It is important for Educators to be aware of variations in learner needs, interests, abilities and previous learning so that educational strategies can be tailored accordingly. This study focused on recognition of differences in individual learning styles and the importance of relating learning strategies to learning styles as part of a competency-based educational approach. The study explored the learning style preferences of a group of twenty Registered Nurses undertaking a structured learning program in Intensive Care. Learning strategies used in this program were also explored to enable comparison between preferred learning styles and strategies. Exploration of individual learner preferences and learning strategies was undertaken using the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) devised by Soloman & Felder. Participants were also asked to indicate their perceived accuracy of the assessment and provide suggestions for improvement in educational support. Results from this study showed that there were some significant differences between individuals\u27 preferred learning styles and the learning strategies used in the program. This was particularly evident in the area of visual versus verbal (or written) learning aspects where the majority of learners demonstrated a preference for visual learning while the learning program utilised mostly written learning strategies. This led to a change in the educational support offered to students and also provided input into the overall program review. Furthermore, it gave directions for future research regarding the value of learning style preferences assessment in program development, implementation and evaluation. It is envisaged that the benefits of this enhanced and individualised support for learning could have a positive impact on nursing staff recruitment and retention for the organisation involved
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