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Learning styles of radiography students during clinical practice

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: L. Patrice Ward
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the common learning styles of radiography students during clinical practice. Quantitative, descriptive research methodology identified the learning styles of radiography students. A single self-report questionnaire, developed to assess learning styles in clinical practice, was administered electronically via a Web page. The sample included 350 radiography students from Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) associate degree programs in the United States. There were six subscales of learning styles identified: structure, integration, experimentation, authority, orientation, and approach. Findings found three groups of radiography students with similar learning styles: task oriented (n = 101), purposeful (n = 134), and tentative (n = 114). Students identified with the task oriented learning style were characterized by preferences to test ideas and draw on intuition and feelings during clinical learning situations. Purposeful learning style students were distinguished by preferences to plan, actively integrate theory and practice, focus on results, and trust in theoretical concepts. The tentative learning style students were characterized by preferences for more prescriptive and results oriented clinical learning experiences and moderation in other learning style elements. Radiography students as a group tended to plan more than improvise and actively rather than passively integrate theory and practice. During clinical learning experiences, they were inclined to focus on results more than process and were apt to rely on i themselves rather than depend on experts for guidance. There were statistically significant differences in distribution for gender, level in program, and age among the three groups of common learning styles. Findings found males were more likely to identify with the purposeful learning style and females with the tentative learning style. First year students were more likely to identify with the purposeful learning style and second year students with the task oriented learning style. Traditional students were more likely to identify with the tentative learning style and nontraditional students with the purposeful learning style. There were no significant differences in distribution associated with learning styles and level of education. Implications for practice include suggestions for students and clinical faculty to apply knowledge of learning styles to understand differences among students, to enhance discussion about learning, and to inspire creative techniques to facilitate learning during clinical practice. Findings offer possibilities for refining the questionnaire and directions for future research to improve teaching effectiveness and student achievement.

TABLE OF CONTENTS TITLE PAGE i SIGNATURE PAGE ii ABSTRACT OF DISSERATION iii DEDICATION v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi TABLE OF CONTENTS viii LIST OF TABLES xi LIST OF FIGURES xiii CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION 1 Significance of the Study 5 Statement of Research Purpose 6 Research Questions 6 Assumptions 6 Definition of Terms 7 Study Delimitations 9 Researcher's Perspective 9 CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW 12 Frameworks for Conceptualizing Learning Styles 13 Curry's "Onion" Model of Learning Style Theories 14 Coffield, Moseley, Hall, and Ecclestone's Families of Learning Styles 17 Prominent Learning Style Theories and Instruments 19 Family of Constitutionally Based Learning Styles and Preferences 20 Dunn and Dunn Learning Style Model 20 Gregorc Mediation Ability Theory 23 Family of Cognitive Structure Based Learning Styles 24 Witkin's Theory of Field Dependence-Independence 25 Riding's Cognitive Control Model 27 Family of Learning Styles Based on Personality 29 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator 30 Family of Flexibly Stable Learning Styles 31 Kolb's Experiential Learning Theory 31 Questionnaire Practice Oriented Learning 38 Family of Learning Approaches and Strategies 41 Sternberg's Theory of Mental Self-Government 41 Research Related to Learning Styles in Health Professions 43 More Stable Trait-Type Learning Styles 44 Personality Centered Learning Styles 45 Learning Styles Focused on Change and Development 47 Research Associated with Learning Styles in Work-Based Experience 50 Conclusion 55 Vl l l

CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY 58 Research Design 58 Population and Sample 59 Instrumentation 61 Pilot Study 63 Data Collection and Procedures 64 Analysis of Data 66 Conclusion 69 CHAPTER IV: FINDINGS 70 Profile of Radiography Students 70 Confirmatory Analyses of the LSCPQ 71 Exploratory Analyses for New LSCPQ Subscales 73 Factor Analysis of LSCPQ Statements 73 Measurement Reliabilities of LSCPQ Subscales 74 Six LSCPQ Subscales 75 Profile of the Learning Styles of Radiography Students during Clinical Practice 77 Correlations between New LSCPQ Subscales 78 Cluster Analysis of Subscales 80 Profile of LSCPQ Learning Styles 80 Learning Style Components of Radiography Students as a Group 81 Learning Styles and Demographic Characteristics 86 Profile of Radiography Students by Learning Style Type 87 Learning Styles Related to Gender, Level in Program, Age, and Education 88 Conclusion 91 CHAPTER V: DISCUSSION 92 Summary of the Study 92 Discussion of Findings 94 Similarities in Learning Styles among Radiography Students 95 Common Learning Styles of Radiography Students during Clinical Practice 95 Associations among Learning Styles and Demographic Characteristics 98 Gender 99 Level in Program 100 Age.... 101 Implications for Radiography Education 101 Implications Based on Similarities among Radiography Students 102 Implications Based on Differences in Learning Style 102 Implications Based on Differences in Gender, Level in Program, and Age 104 Recommendations 106 Concluding Remarks 107 REFERENCES 108

APPENDIXES 122 Appendix A: Learning Styles during Clinical Practice Questionnaire 123 Appendix B: Cover Letter to Students in the Pilot Study 130 Appendix C: Introductory E-Mail Message to Program Directors 131 Appendix D: Cover Letter to Program Directors 132 Appendix E: Cover Letter to Students 133 Appendix F: Website Consent for Participants 134 Appendix G: Student Comments from the LSCPQ 135 Appendix H: Subscale Statements 140 Appendix I: Post Hoc Tests for Subscales 144 x

LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Continuum of Families of Major Learning Style Models with Theorists Identified 18 Table 2 QPL Bipolar Subscales Related to Kolb's Experiential Learning Modes 39 Table 3 Sternberg's Profile of Thinking Styles 42 Table 4 Response from Program Directors 66 Table 5 Summary of Codes and Subscale Scoring 67 Table 6 Summary of Analysis of Data from Research Questions 68 Table 7 Profile of Radiography Students 71 Table 8 Comparison of Statements Loading and Reliability between the QPL andLSCPQ 73 Table 9 Number of Statements and Measurement Reliabilities for LSCPQ Subscales.... 75 Table 10 LSCPQ Subscales, Bipolar Statements, and Subscale Scoring 76 Table 11 Intercorrelations, Means, and Standard Deviations for LSCPQ Subscales (w = 349) 79 Table 12 Means and Standard Deviations of LSCPQ Subscales for Three Groups 83 Table 13 One-Way Analyses of Variance Summary Comparing Three Learning Style Groups on LSCPQ Subscales 84 Table 14 Group Pairwise Similarities and Differences by Subscale 86 Table 15 Profile of Radiography Students within Groups 88 Table 16 Chi-square Analysis of Prevalence of Learning Style among Male and Female Students 89 Table 17 Chi-square Analysis of Prevalence of Learning Style among First and Second Year Students 90 Table 18 Chi-square Analysis of Prevalence of Learning Style among Traditional and Nontraditional Students 90 Table 19 Subscale Differences among Groups of Learning Styles 96

Is Table 20 Differences in Gender, Level in Program, and Age among Groups of Learning Styles 99 Table II Post Hoc Tests for Structure, Integration, Experimentation, and Orientation Subscales 144 Table 12 Post Hoc Tests for Authority and Approach Subscales 145

LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 Curry's Onion Model of Learning Style Theories 15 Figure 2 Kolb's Learning Dimensions 33 Figure 3 Kolb's Learning Styles 34 Figure 4 Profile of LSCPQ Learning Styles 80 Figure 5 General Profile of Radiography Students Learning Style Components 82

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION Health science professions depend on practical experience to demonstrate and develop knowledge and skills from academic (didactic) and laboratory experiences. As a result, health science educational programs provide academic and clinical education. The purpose of the academic component is to provide students the opportunity to learn principles and concepts relevant for professional performance. Students gain knowledge of fundamental concepts and theories in the classroom, laboratory, and related homework prior to and concurrently with participation in clinical experiences. The foundation for clinical education is authentic, direct experience in a medical facility. Radiologic technology is the largest of the allied health science disciplines (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007). Clinical education is an integral part of radiologic technology programs (Fortsch, 2007; Giordano, 2008). The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), a voluntary credentialing agency, currently certifies over 265,000 individuals (ARRT, 2008). Radiography is one of five disciplines of radiologic technology offered by the ARRT for primary certification. To receive certification in radiography that qualifies individuals to use ionizing radiation in medical imaging and to use the designation of registered technologist (RT), individuals must earn recognition by the ARRT (ARRT, 2007c). To qualify candidates must meet ethics standards, complete educational preparation standards, and pass the ARRT Radiography certification examination.

Typically, prospective radiography students must apply for acceptance into a program. According to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), first year enrollments for fall 2008 were 17,050 radiography students (ASRT, 2009). The ASRT determined program directors at full enrollment were turning away qualified students at a rate, which projects to an unmet national demand of approximately 27,650 students. Many radiography programs are limited in the number of students they may admit due to constraints associated with the number of available clinical facilities. Espen, Wright, and Killion (2006) investigated the common admission criteria of entry-level radiography programs in two states. Findings indicated there was no standard used by all programs, but they did find GP As, successful completion of selected courses, interviews, and standardized tests were commonly used admission criteria. Following admission, students begin classroom preparation that includes lectures and demonstrations (Gurley & Callaway, 2006). The time when a student first enters the clinical environment varies among programs. Initially, students mainly observe radiologic technologists and other healthcare workers performing daily activities in the clinical environment. Later students begin to apply theoretical principles and knowledge in the clinical environment through supervised performance of tasks. Typically, as students progress through the program the time spent in clinical practice increases. To meet educational preparation standards, candidates must successfully complete a formal educational program approved by the ARRT (ARRT, 2007c). Hospitals, colleges and universities, and less frequently vocational-technical institutions, offer educational programs in radiologic technology. Education in radiologic technology, similar to most curricula in allied health professions, includes an academic component

and a clinical component (ARRT, 2007a). The academic requirement for radiologic technology consists of specified coursework. The ARRT Examination in Radiography is the method used to assess candidates "knowledge and cognitive skills underlying the intelligent performance of the tasks typically required of the staff technologist at entry into the profession" (ARRT, 2007b, p. 37). Radiography students need to develop learning skills to meet the demands of clinical practice. The clinical requirement for radiography consists of demonstrated competency in general patient care activities and radiologic procedures (ARRT, 2007a). Clinical competence means candidates perform procedures "independently, consistently, and effectively" (ARRT, p. 31). Clinical education provides students learning opportunities within a hospital, clinic, or physician's office that produces radiographic images. Evaluation of competence requires the observation of students during their clinical practice. Due in part to the ARRT clinical competency requirement, the curriculum for all radiologic technology programs includes clinical education. The ARRT however does not mandate the number of clinical hours for educational programs. A considerable number of hours are committed to clinical education despite variance in the number of clinical hours among programs. As indicated by a 1998 survey of 216 college based radiography programs, the required clinical education clock hours ranged from 1,200 to 2,400 hours (Van Valkenburg, Veale, Caldwell, Lampignano, & Hairfield, 2000). While clinical education clock hours do not directly compare to credit hours, another way to assess the value programs place on clinical education is to examine the number of credit hours allotted for clinical practice. In the program where I teach, clinical education accounts for 51% of the total program credits. An informal examination of 20 randomly selected 3

associate degree radiography programs found clinical education ranged from 19% to 60% of the total program credits. For these programs, clinical education credits averaged 36% of the total program credits. Based on my experience, clinical education is a valued component of the learning process. In response to increased demands to conserve fiscal resources and respond to an increasingly diverse population of students, educators are pressed to create learning situations that are more effective (Sims & Sims, 2006). The desire to understand and improve the way individuals learn has created widespread interest in learning style theory and learning style assessment. However, educational theory about learning favors theoretical learning in academic and related homework conditions rather than within work-based situations (Hermanussen, Wierstra, de Jong, & Thijssen, 2000). In education, the academic classroom has been the venue for research in learning styles (Dunn, (n.d.a); Gregorc, 1982a; Kolb & Kolb, 2008a, 2008b; Witkin, Moore, Goodenough, & Cox, 1977). This is understandable because the nature of general and higher education is theoretical and highly abstract (Hermanussen et al.). Although the contexts are quite different, instruments developed to measure learning styles in academic conditions are often used within work-based situations (Berings, Poell, Simons, & van Veldhoven, 2007). However, published research suggests the learning styles of most students differ in the academic classroom and in authentic work-based situations (de Jong, Wierstra, & Hermanussen, 2006; see also Coker, 2000). Research associated with the learning styles students used during work-based or practice- based experiences is limited (Berings et al., 2007; Hayes & Allinson, 1997; Hermanussen et al., 2000; Lasonen & Vesterinen, 2000). The instruments currently used to evaluate 4

work-based learning styles are inadequate. They do not consider the context of the learning situation, are discipline specific, or have psychometric weaknesses. In situations where the discipline or course of study depends on theoretical and work-based learning, there is a need to understand learning style as it relates to both contexts. Significance of the Study For education to be successful, it is imperative that educators understand how learners gain understanding (Sims & Sims, 2006). Research on the learning styles of students has supported strategies to improve teaching and learning in classroom and related homework conditions (Chapman & Calhoun, 2006; de Jong et al., 2006; Diaz & Cartnal, 1999; Pithers, 2002; Raschick, Maypole, & Day, 1998; Terry, 2001). A review of published literature found limited research investigating the learning styles of radiologic technology students, and no research targeting the learning styles of radiography students during clinical practice. The need exists for research designed to understand the learning styles of radiography students specifically during clinical practice. Understanding the different ways people learn is intuitively appealing to anyone interested in the facilitation of effective learning. Logic implies that if facilitators of learning know more about how individuals learn, they will be able to address the strengths and weaknesses of learners. This research adds to the field of study by helping students, affiliate clinical instructors, clinical faculty, and other educational program representatives in radiography programs gain understanding about the way students learn during authentic clinical practice conditions. While the findings are most valuable for radiologic technology educators and students, medical, nursing, and other allied health 5

science educators and students who depend on work-based experience to demonstrate and develop knowledge and skills could potentially benefit from this research. Statement of Research Purpose The purpose of this study is to describe the common learning styles of radiography students and to describe the immersion, reflection, conceptualization, experimentation, and regulation styles of radiography students during clinical practice. The perspective is that of the student. Research Questions The research questions are: 1. What are the immersion, reflection, conceptualization, experimentation, and regulation styles of radiography students during clinical practice? 2. How are immersion, reflection, conceptualization, experimentation, and regulation styles interrelated? 3. What are the common learning styles of associate degree radiography students during clinical practice? Assumptions Following are assumptions for this study: 1. The sample of participating students was representative of the population of students enrolled in accredited, associate degree programs during the period of study. 2. Responses of participants accurately reflected their self-perceptions of learning during clinical practice. 6

Definition of Terms For the purposes of this study, the following definitions apply. Academic education refers to learning based on theoretical concepts. Academic methods include learning from textbooks, homework, or traditional classroom studies. Accreditation is a voluntary, self-regulatory process that encourages program self- assessment and development of professional education. The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) endorses educational programs that comply with stringent professional standards (JRCERT, 2007). Certification in radiography is the preliminary recognition of individuals qualified to use ionizing radiation in medical imaging. Individuals who complete educational preparation standards, meet ethics standards, and pass the certification exam earn recognition by the ARRT (ARRT, 2007c). Clinical education refers to learning from practical, relevant situations in the workplace. In radiologic technology, clinical education represents learning opportunities and experiences during clinical practice. Clinical practice in radiography is direct work experience and performance in a medical facility that produces radiographic images. Medical facilities include hospitals, clinics, or physicians' offices. Students in educational programs must demonstrate competency in specified patient care tasks and radiographic procedures in a medical facility. Learning style is a common term used to describe a number of different or overlapping concepts. For the purposes of this study, it was important to clarify the meaning of terms closely associated or used synonymously with learning style. 7

According to Entwistle (1991), the psychological term cognitive style describes individuals' learning personality or the way individuals typically deal with cognitive tasks. Typically, cognitive style is a relatively stable characteristic of an individual (Curry, 1983; Riding & Sadler-Smith, 1992). In the past, the terms learning style and cognitive style were used interchangeably (Riding & Cheema, 1991). Learning approach or learning strategy describes the method individuals use to deal with a learning environment, whether the situation matches their learning style or not (Curry). Strategies, which are more flexible in nature may be learned and developed (Riding & Cheema). Others have described learning approach as a general term to explain the characteristic learning behavior of individuals (Cuthbert, 2005; de Jong et al., 2006). Learning preference refers to the choice of one learning method over another. In this study, learning styles is a general term used to describe the different ways individuals gain knowledge. Radiologic technologists are skilled healthcare personnel who perform diagnostic imaging examinations and administer radiation therapy treatments. They may specialize in a variety of modalities such as general radiography, mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, or sonography. Registered technologist (RT) is the title given to individuals certified by the ARRT. Registration of the certificate must be in effect to continue to use the title (ARRT, 2007c). Work-based experience is a general term that describes practical learning situations that take place in the workplace or field. As a component of higher education programs, it provides a "valuable way for students to apply theoretical (propositional) 8

knowledge" (Brodie & Irving, 2007). Clinical practice is a type of work-based experience. Study Delimitations Following were the delimitations in the study, which directed the choice of programs from which students participated: 1. Accredited associate degree radiologic technology programs in the United States and Puerto Rico. 2. Certificate or baccalaureate degree programs and hospital-based, technical, military, proprietary, or consortium programs were not included. Researcher's Perspective Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn (Malaguzzi, 1998, p. 82). At the beginning of my career as a radiographer, I worked in a radiology department in a hospital and later in a private clinic. I enjoyed interacting with patients and performing tasks efficiently and proficiently. Not recognizing it at the time, I later realized I also took great pleasure in working with students involved in clinical practice at these facilities. Through a serendipitous turn of events, I entered the field of education. For nearly 20 years, I have been an educator in radiologic technology in both academic and clinical practice settings. At the start of my career in education, I had no prior academic teaching experience and little clinical teaching experience. I chose to jump into the river of education with both feet. Initially I learned primarily through trial and error experiences with students. At first, I thought good teaching meant sharing theoretical concepts, 9

personal perceptions, my own professional experiences, as well as designing classroom and laboratory exercises. Later, I began to understand the techniques I used were not beneficial for every student. As I talked to students about their perceptions of the learning experience, I began to understand that students learn in a variety of ways and good teaching, at a minimum, requires understanding the general approaches individuals use to acquire knowledge. I set off to investigate learning style. It became apparent that the more individuals understand how they learn, the better they are able to maximize learning opportunities and improve the overall learning experience. For me this meant understanding and sharing the concepts of learning style could improve my teaching approach and foster students' efforts to facilitate their own learning experiences. This is when my interest in learning style developed into a passion. As I became acquainted with literature related to learning style, I searched for ways to incorporate a wider variety of learning opportunities for students in academic and clinical environments. Over the years, I observed other colleagues who shared my interest in improving education in the traditional classroom through an understanding and use of individual learning styles. However, I also discovered some people did not support the use of learning styles, because they believed learning style assessment categorizes or types individuals and denies the unique character of the individual. I believe the intent of learning style theory is not to pigeonhole individuals, but to provide a foundation for people to explore and appreciate differences among individuals. Based on my experience, an understanding of different learning styles can serve as a catalyst to the development of new and innovative ways of teaching and learning. Helping students develop insight 10

concerning the differences in the ways people prefer to learn can help them become better learners. As I explored the use of learning style assessment to improve teaching and student learning outcomes I discovered the literature was slanted toward academic and independent study conditions. As a member of a profession that depends on learning and skill building through practical experience, to me the limited amount of research conducted on learning preferences in work-based education was baffling. I believe it is important to understand students' approaches to learning in different learning conditions. If learning and teaching are to strengthen each other, it is important to understand how students approach learning in all learning environments. It is my desire to contribute to this body of knowledge and particularly to the way radiography students approach learning during clinical practice. I am grateful to all the learners who have shared their perceptions of learning with me. 11

CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW Individuals learn in unique, multifaceted ways. Considerable research has investigated the impact of personality, cognitive ability, cognitive style, learning style, learning strategy, and preferred learning environment on the learning process. Clinical practice plays an important role in the curriculum of healthcare programs. To maximize learning opportunities it is valuable to understand the way students learn during clinical experiences. However, little research has investigated the styles healthcare students use to learn under these conditions. The purpose of this study is to examine learning styles of students during clinical practice. For this study, selection of the appropriate learning style theory and assessment should be in accordance with learning in a clinical environment. To capitalize on what learning style models contribute to the educational process there must be linkage among a particular learning style theory, its assessment, and the purpose for using it. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the literature related to the styles students in healthcare education use to learn. The background for the study includes two conceptual integration models of learning styles and descriptions of prominent learning style models and instruments. A review of research literature related to learning style assessment in allied health science, medical, and nursing education and in work-based situations is included.

Frameworks for Conceptualizing Learning Styles Available literature confirms theoretical and pragmatic problems associated with learning styles. One difficulty is a lack of consensus regarding terminology. Part of the problem occurred because of the independent development of various learning style models. Riding (1997) observed that between the early 1940s and 1980s when individuals began to speculate about individual differences in learning, many worked independently with little reference to the work of others. Consequently, varieties of theoretical models of learning emphasizing different facets of the way people learn and different learning style types were developed. Adding to the complexity, the limited exchange of ideas resulted in a variety of style labels. Despite these problems, extensive empirical research with many of the models has provided insights into the complex domain of learning styles. Most of the current work involves conceptual integration of previous work, proposals of new styles, or research probing relationships between different style labels (Zhang & Sternberg, 2005). Due to the complex and diverse perspectives regarding learning style theory and assessment, several authors and researchers have attempted to develop conceptual frameworks of learning style theories to explain relationships among different style labels (Coffield, Moseley, Hall, & Ecclestone, 2004; Curry, 1983; Miller, 1987; Riding & Cheema, 1991; Sadler-Smith, 1997; Zhang & Sternberg, 2005). Each conceptual framework explicitly or implicitly addresses the familiar state-or-trait debate observed in human psychology. It is important to understand whether a researcher considers learning styles as stable traits we inherit or shifting states that can change over time. Three perspectives of learning styles (structure, process, or both) relate to the debate and have 13

implications for the way style impacts learning (Riding & Cheema). Viewed as a structure (trait), learning style is stable over time for an individual. From this standpoint, customized learning situations can meet the needs of the individual once her/his style is identified. Viewed as a process (state), style can change with each experience or task. From this perspective, modified learning situations can promote change to compensate for or strengthen weaknesses. Viewed as both a structure and process, styles are adaptable but retain style structure. From this point of view, styles fluctuate moderately according to the learning situation. This section will examine two major frameworks used to conceptualize learning style constructs and theories. Both frameworks explore the importance of the state-or-trait perspective as it relates to the discussion of learning styles. The first is Curry's (1983) model, selected because it serves as an example of one of the earliest attempts to explain relationships among different style labels. The second is Coffield et al.'s (2004) families of learning styles, selected because it includes an extensive examination of current literature on learning styles. Curry's "Onion " Model of Learning Style Theories In a paper presented to educational researchers, Curry (1983) proposed a model to explain differences between aspects of learning that are easily changed and those that are more resistant to change. She reviewed research that used learning style assessments for education or professional occupational choice purposes. The review for psychometric adequacy included 21 models of learning styles. Using a systems approach, Curry organized nine of the learning style assessments into a model to explain how individual style constructs relate to each other. Drawing on the analogy of an onion Curry identified 14

Full document contains 159 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the common learning styles of radiography students during clinical practice. Quantitative, descriptive research methodology identified the learning styles of radiography students. A single self-report questionnaire, developed to assess learning styles in clinical practice, was administered electronically via a Web page. The sample included 350 radiography students from Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) associate degree programs in the United States. There were six subscales of learning styles identified: structure, integration, experimentation, authority, orientation, and approach. Findings found three groups of radiography students with similar learning styles: task oriented (n = 101), purposeful (n = 134), and tentative (n = 114). Students identified with the task oriented learning style were characterized by preferences to test ideas and draw on intuition and feelings during clinical learning situations. Purposeful learning style students were distinguished by preferences to plan, actively integrate theory and practice, focus on results, and trust in theoretical concepts. The tentative learning style students were characterized by preferences for more prescriptive and results oriented clinical learning experiences and moderation in other learning style elements. Radiography students as a group tended to plan more than improvise and actively rather than passively integrate theory and practice. During clinical learning experiences, they were inclined to focus on results more than process and were apt to rely on i themselves rather than depend on experts for guidance. There were statistically significant differences in distribution for gender, level in program, and age among the three groups of common learning styles. Findings found males were more likely to identify with the purposeful learning style and females with the tentative learning style. First year students were more likely to identify with the purposeful learning style and second year students with the task oriented learning style. Traditional students were more likely to identify with the tentative learning style and nontraditional students with the purposeful learning style. There were no significant differences in distribution associated with learning styles and level of education. Implications for practice include suggestions for students and clinical faculty to apply knowledge of learning styles to understand differences among students, to enhance discussion about learning, and to inspire creative techniques to facilitate learning during clinical practice. Findings offer possibilities for refining the questionnaire and directions for future research to improve teaching effectiveness and student achievement.