Critical Thinking Dispositions and Learning Styles of Baccalaureate Nursing Students and its Relation to Their Achievement

Hala Gabr Mahmoud


Background: In a contemporary healthcare environment characterized by rapidly-changing developments and relentlessly-increasing knowledge, professional nurses need to develop critical thinking skills that will provide them with expertise in flexible, individualized, situation-specific problem solving. Therefore, nursing education strives to facilitate the development of students’ critical thinking through the appropriate instructional approaches. Developing critical thinking and knowledge of different learning styles among the student population are important in designing curricula, and adopting teaching methods that to promote student learning is a crucial part of ensuring that students engage positively with content and develop the deep learning skills needed for lifelong learning. Assessment of LS and CTD should be given more attention by nurse educators because teaching students according to their learning ability will nurture their CTD, increase their ability to process information, and enhance academic performance. Aims: The present study aims to determine baccalaureate nursing students’ critical thinking dispositions and learning styles and its relation to their achievement. Design: The study will use descriptive correctional study. Methods: The study was conducted at Faculty of Nursing at King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia. All nursing students, enrolled in the Faculty of Nursing from three levels of academic year, fourth, sixth, and eighth at the time of the study of the academic year 2010-2011 were included in the study (n= 208). Three tools were used for data collection namely; California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory (CCTDI), Learning Style Questionnaire (LSQ), and Retrospective Audit. Results: Based on the study findings of this study, it could be found that there was no significant relationship between overall critical thinking dispositions and learning style with nursing students’ achievement, while a significant relationship was proved between nursing student critical thinking disposition and nursing student active/reflective learning style. The majority of the undergraduate nursing students at Faculty of Nursing, King Khalid University showed ambivalent disposition towards most of the dispositional characteristics and the overall CCTDI. Conclusions: It was concluded that critical thinking is enhanced when active learning approaches and most nursing students preferred active/reflective learning style. It is recommended to the developed further studies in other faculties of nursing in Saudi Arabia.

Key words: Nursing education program, critical thinking, critical thinking dispositions, learning styles, nursing students’ achievement, nursing educators, Grade Point Average.

Abbreviations: CT critical thinking, CCTDI California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory, LS learning style, GPA grade point average, SDL self-directed learning, SDLERS Students' Self-Directed Learner Readiness Scale.

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