A pre-test/post-test design was used to study the learning style preferences of two classes of occupational therapy students of the University of Southern California. Forty students were in the 1976-1977 class and 49 in the 1.977-1978 class. The Learning Preferences Inventory was administered before and after completion of courses in the basic professional curriculum.
The results indicated that both bachelor’s and master’s students preferred learning experiences that were teacher-structured, concrete, and interpersonal. Although the changes in learning styles that occurred during basic professional education were not consistent from sample to sample, they did suggest that an instructional program can influence learning style preferences. The comparison of higher and lower achievers in the academic and fieldwork components also yielded inconsistent findings. Thus, while the learning style preferences of occupational therapy students were confirmed, the influence of the curriculum on learning styles and the preferences of better versus less successful students merit further investigations.