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Keywords:

  • dietetic education;
  • learning;
  • student

Abstract

Aim:  To investigate the learning styles of nutrition and dietetics students to assist in informing nutrition and dietetics curriculum methods, design and review.

Methods:  A total of 129 students from years one to four of a nutrition and dietetics undergraduate curriculum completed the Index of Learning Styles and the Kolb Learning Style Inventory to reveal their learning style preferences.

Results:  The Index of Learning Styles identified the students as learners who were intuitive (innovative), verbal (preferring spoken/written explanations) and global (preferring holistic approaches) while the Kolb Learning Style Inventory found that the students had an inclination towards converging (practical) and assimilating (reasoning) learning styles.

Conclusions:  Analysis of learning styles can assist curriculum change towards teaching strategies that suit students. Teaching and learning activities for dietetics students should be developed to strengthen reflective and emotional learning and to develop students' ability to appreciate different points of view. The finding that learning styles changed with year level requires confirmation via cohort studies.