Inventory of student approaches to learning and studying in an entry-level Pharm.D. program


Eric Boyce: 0000-0002-5447-9016

Document Type


Conference Title/Conference Publication

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Conference Dates

July 8-11, 2001

Date of Presentation



Objectives: To determine the types of approaches to learning and studying in pharmacy stu-dents and whether these change during the program. Methods: Students in the first and third professional years of an entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy pro-gram were asked to complete the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) in the beginning of the 2000-2001 academic year. Results from each survey were scored individually and data were analyzed using descriptive and comparative statistics. Results: A total of 279 first-year and 209 third-year pharmacy students completed the survey. For all students, learning style scores were highest for Strategic Approach (mean 73), followed by Deep Approach (mean 58) and lastly, Surface Apathetic Approach (mean 49), (P<0.001). Third-year students scored higher in Strategic Approach (P=0.0007) and lower in Surface Apathetic Approach (P=0.0003) to learning. Overall, students preferred teaching methods of transmitting information (P<0.0001), but third-year students had higher scores for preferring teaching methods that support understanding (P=0.02). Implications: The ASSIST instrument is helpful in identifying students’ approaches and preferences in learning, but the meaning of the differences seen is unclear. Our pharmacy students have a strategic approach to learning and prefer passive teaching meth-ods. Colleges of Pharmacy that wish to enhance deep approaches to learning and methods that support understanding may need to examine student learning characteristics and the design and delivery of course work.

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