Purpose: Educating future health care practitioners is an important role of universities. Optimal learning environments consider how students learn and utilise various teaching methods to tailor curriculum delivery to match specified student learning preferences. Method: This paper presents a comparative study examining the learning style preferences of first-year undergraduate occupational therapy (n = 116), physiotherapy (n = 60) and speech pathology students (n = 42) at one Australian university. Each student group completed the Kolb Learning Style Inventory (LSI) and the VARK Questionnaire during the first semester of year one of their courses. Results: Minimal significant differences were identified between the learning style preferences of the occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech pathology students using one-way ANOVA and t-tests. All three student groups reported a greater preference for kinesthetic learning, supporting case study and practical experience components of allied health education. As well, all four of Kolb’s information processing styles were represented within each student group. Conclusion: The study findings support prior research, suggesting that a range of teaching methods are required to accommodate the variability of student learning styles enrolled in health science courses as well as to strengthen student learning modes in preparation for the complex demands of professional practice.




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