Int J Dent Hyg. 2023 Sep 3. doi: 10.1111/idh.12727. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Learning styles have been studied in dental and generational research, but research has been limited with Millennial and Generation Z dental hygiene students. The purpose of this quantitative comparative study was to determine if and to what extent there was a difference between Generation Z and Millennial dental hygiene students’ preferred learning styles.
METHODS: First- and second-year dental hygiene students attending three programs located in Southern California were invited to participate in the study. Additional participants were recruited through dental hygiene social media sites. The 44 item Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Styles (ILS) was administered via an online survey platform. Millennial and Generation Z participants were compared on the four dimensions of the ILS: active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and sequential/global. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and the independent samples t-test.
RESULTS: A total of 150 dental hygiene students agreed to participate; Millennials (n = 61), Generation Z (n = 89). There was no significant difference between Millennial and Generation Z students in the active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, or sequential/global dimensions (p > 0.05); both cohorts preferred the active, sensing, and sequential learning styles. There was a statistically significant difference in the visual/verbal dimension with Millennials indicating a significantly greater preference for the visual learning style than Generation Z (p = 0.04).
CONCLUSION: There may be differences between the learning styles of Millennial and Generation Z dental hygiene students. The finding that Generation Z students differ significantly from Millennials on the visual-verbal dimension may indicate a shift toward the verbal dimension learning style that needs further study.