Assessment of motivation, learning styles and programme selections of Saudi pharmacy and non- pharmacy candidates during the preparatory year
Keywords:Assessment, Motivation, Learning Styles, Programme Selection, Pharmacy Candidates, Preparatory Year Study, Saudi Arabia
Aim: This study was aimed to evaluate the motivation, learning styles and programme selections of pharmacy and non- pharmacy candidates doing the preparatory year.
Method: A questionnaire survey was conducted at the end of the preparatory-year in Dammam University during the Orientation Week in April 2014. Interviews with some students and instructors were also conducted to triangulate the survey data. A semi-structured questionnaire was specially designed, checked for face validity and piloted in students. A chi-squared or t test was utilised to compare the programme selections and relevant variables with the significance level (α) set at 0.05.
Results: A total of 74 pharmacy and 342 non-pharmacy candidates completed the questionnaire. Both groups mostly consisted of males aged 19 (60% – 70%) with the secondary school scores in the range of 96% - 100%. Almost all students could identify their strengths and weaknesses, especially in Chemistry, Physics and English. They felt stressed out and unhappy and needed some advice or counselling. Both contingents had similar motivation and career goals. Top three health-related programmes of choice were Dentistry, Medicine and Applied Medical Sciences. They claimed to have enough information to make a decision and preferred a one-to-one discussion with the programme instructors to get the programme information. Both groups had the same learning styles - ‘Director (or Converger)’ as a dominant (average score: 5.1 vs. 5.2) and ‘Producer (or Assimilator)’ as a secondary style (average score: 4.9 vs. 5.0).
Conclusion: The pharmacy and non-pharmacy candidates have similar perceptions, motivation and learning styles, but marginal differences were found in the programme selections and acquiring information. Pharmacy orientation and counselling sessions are needed to correct their misperception about chemistry and to recruit high-performing students. Pharmacy images and professionalism among preparatory-year and pharmacy students warrant further studies.
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