Publication Details

Mansfield, K. J., Peoples, G. E., Parker-Newlyn, L. & Skropeta, D. (2020). Approaches to learning: Does medical school attract students with the motivation to go deeper?. Education Sciences, 10 (11), 1-12.


© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Graduate-entry, following a science degree, is the preferred pathway into many medical schools, however little is known about how the learning approaches of medical students compare to those of science students. This study compared the learning approaches and achievement orientations of science students with those aiming to enter graduate-entry medicine programs. The two factor study process questionnaire and the achievement goal orientation survey were used to compare students in; stage one: third year science students (n = 86) to graduate-entry medicine students (n = 158); stage two: applicants to graduate medicine (n = 84); stage three: first year science students (n = 363) to first year pre-medicine students (n = 68). Medical students and applicants to medicine demonstrated a greater preference for deep learning than third year science students (p < 0.0001). Pre-medicine students were similar to medical students. Medical students, applicants to medicine and pre-medicine students also all had a greater preference for a learning goal orientation. The preference for a deeper approach to learning and stronger learning goal orientation in students enrolled in medicine or aiming to gain entry to graduate medicine indicates a motivation towards the acquisition of knowledge. Medical educators need to ensure that students continue to develop positive and beneficial styles of learning to assist them to develop into life-long learners.



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