Learning style characteristics of athletic training students in CAAHEP accredited athletic training education programs /

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Fuchs, Eric
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Middle Tennessee State University
Little is known about athletic training students, and still less is known about how they learn (Harrelson, Leaver-Dunn, & Wright, 1998). Allied health professionals, medical students, and nursing students are among the most frequent subjects of learning style and demographic investigations (Harrelson, et al., 1998). An educator who identifies and understands the learning styles of his or her students has an advantage in developing more effective curricular and course lessons prior to the beginning of a semester.
Athletic training education program directors and faculty need to understand the demographics and learning styles of students accepted into current and future athletic training education programs to enhance student educational experiences and outcomes. Cavanaugh and Coffin (1994) found instructional preferences directly influence the ways in which people learn. Kolb (1985) hypothesized that a person's learning style influences the initial selection of a profession and is accentuated as one learns the profession's norms.
This study identified and compared the learning style characteristics of pre-admission and senior students of CAAHEP accredited entry-level athletic training education programs. The chi square statistical analysis of the data collected in this study led to failure to reject the null hypotheses H 1 (chi2 = 5.76; p = .124; df = 1), H2 (X 2 = .889; p = .346; df = 1), and H3 (chi2 = 13.209; p = .153; df 9). The sample size in this study (N = 131) was sufficient to ensure that the minimum and expected cell counts were within operational parameters for chi square cross tabulation analyses.
This study found no significant differences in the types of learning style characteristics between pre-admission athletic training students and senior athletic training students. No significant differences were found between male and female pre-admission and senior athletic training students. In addition, senior athletic training students were not more likely to have a pattern of learning styles primarily composed of converger and diverger learning styles. This study confirms the findings of Coker (2000) and Harrelson et al., (1998), which found no dominate learning style among athletic training students.
Director: Scott Colclough.