Learning preferences, computer attitudes, and student evaluation of computerised instruction

David J. Steele, Jodi E. Johnson Palensky, Thomas G. Lynch, Naomi L. Lacy, Sean W. Duffy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore the relationship between learning preferences, attitudes towards computers, and student evaluation of a computer-assisted instructional (CAI) program. Context: A third year required clerkship in surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Methods: A mixed-methods design combining attitudinal measures and qualitative interviews was employed to assess student reactions to a CAI program on angiography completed during a required surgical clerkship. Between January 1998 and July 1999, 151 students completed the program. Prior to participating, students completed the Rezler Learning Preference Inventory (LPI) and a computer attitudes survey (CAS). The LPI characterizes learning preferences as being abstract or concrete, individual or interpersonal, and student-structured or teacher-structured. The CAS measures attitudes towards computers and their role in education. After using the CAI program, students evaluated the module by completing an 18 item questionnaire. Based on LPI and CAS scores, 31 students were invited to participate in an in-depth qualitative interview on their experiences and perceptions of the program. Results: There was no relationship between learning preferences, computer attitudes, and evaluation of the CAI program. Students were very positive about the program's content, clarity, organization, and ease of use. They also rated it as efficient and effective. However, many still indicated a preference for lecture and text-based learning. Qualitative interviews suggest students worry computers will supplant student-teacher contact. Conclusions: Learning preferences and prior attitudes toward computers did not bias student reactions to the CAI program assessed in this study. However, students expressed concerns that CAI would interfere with the traditional student-teacher encounter and relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Attitude to computers
  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Education, medical/methods/standards
  • Students, medical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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