RESEARCH PAPER: Impact of preferred learning style on personal resilience strategies among pharmacy students during the COVID-19 pandemic




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.

Author Biographies

Jacob Poirier, University of Toronto, Canada

Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Paul Gregory, University of Toronto, Canada

Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Zubin Austin, University of Toronto, Canada

Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy


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COVID-19 Research Paper