RESEARCH PAPER: Impact of preferred learning style on personal resilience strategies among pharmacy students during the COVID-19 pandemic
Keywords:Pharmacy Education, Resilience, COVID-19, Learning Styles, Learning Styles Theory
Introduction: Using COVID-19 as the context, this study explored how differences in individual learning styles impacted personal resilience strategies among pharmacy students. This is a uniquely stressful period of time for many learners; pharmacy education has shifted predominantly to novel online forms of teaching, learning, and assessment, and traditional psycho-social support became difficult to access due to lock-down and quarantine requirements.
Methods: Data were gathered throughout May and June 2020 via participant-observer, semi-structured interviews. Data analysis was performed using deductive analysis techniques, based on existing themes in resilience research.
Results: A total of 21 pharmacy students were interviewed, the majority of whom had ‘Assimilator’ or ‘Converger’ dominant learning styles as classified by Austin’s Pharmacists’ Inventory of Learning Styles (PILS). Assimilators had a stronger sense of professional identity, practiced positive psychology, and utilised journaling as resilience strategies more frequently than Convergers. Convergers were found to be more self-efficacious and adaptable than Assimilators.
Conclusions: Rather than providing ‘one-size-fits-all’ advice and programming to pharmacy students, there may be potential to improve resilience by incorporating tailored and specific strategies based on the dominant learning style of each individual student.
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