Objectives: This paper reports on the preferred learning styles of Registered Nurses practicing in acute care environments and relationships between gender, age, post-graduate experience and the identified preferred learning styles. Methods: A prospective cohort study design was used. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and the Felder-Silverman Index of Learning Styles (ILS) questionnaire to determine preferred learning styles. Results: Most of the Registered Nurse participants were balanced across the Active-Reflective (n = 77, 54%), and Sequential-Global (n = 96, 68%) scales. Across the other scales, sensing (n = 97, 68%) and visual (n = 76, 53%) were the most common preferred learning style. There were only a small proportion who had a preferred learning style of reflective (n = 21, 15%), intuitive (n = 5, 4%), verbal (n = 11, 8%) or global learning (n = 15, 11%). Results indicated that gender, age and years since undergraduate education were not related to the identified preferred learning styles. Conclusions: The identification of Registered Nurses' learning style provides information that nurse educators and others can use to make informed choices about modification, development and strengthening of professional hospital-based educational programs. The use of the Index of Learning Styles questionnaire and its ability to identify 'balanced' learning style preferences may potentially yield additional preferred learning style information for other health-related disciplines.
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