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J Allied Health. 2018 Spring;47(1):51-57.

Paramedic Learning Style Preferences and Continuing Medical Education Activities: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study.

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Div. of Emergency Medical Services, Dalhousie University, 1796 Summer Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3A7, Canada. Tel 902-237-4511.



Paramedics participate in continuing medical education (CME) to maintain their skills and knowledge. An understanding of learning styles is important for education to be effective. This study examined the preferred learning styles of ground ambulance paramedics and describes how their preferred learning styles relate to the elective CME activities these paramedics attend.


All paramedics (n=1,036) employed in a provincial ground ambulance service were invited to participate in a survey containing three parts: demographics, learning style assessed by the Kolb Learning Style Inventory (LSI), and elective CME activity.


260 paramedics (25%) participated in the survey. Preferred learning styles were: assimilator, 28%; diverger, 25%; converger, 24%; and accommodator, 23%. Advanced life support (ALS) providers had a higher proportion of assimilators (36%), and basic life support (BLS) providers had a higher proportion of divergers (30%). The learning style categories of CME activities attended by paramedics were: assimilators, 25%; divergers, 26%; convergers, 25%; and accommodators, 24%.


These results suggest that paramedics are a diverse group of learners, and learning style differs within their demographics. Paramedics attend CME activities that complement all learning styles. Organizations providing education opportunities to paramedics should consider paramedics a diverse learning group when designing their CME programs.


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