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Objectives: The transition to competency-based education and restraints on trainee work hours necessitates re-evaluation of resident education. The role of learning style in plastic surgery residency training has not been investigated. The objective of this study was to identify the learning styles of plastic surgeons and trainees in Canadian Plastic Surgery programs.
Methods: A cross-sectional electronic survey was distributed to all members of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons and through program directors at Canadian training programs. Basic demographics were captured. The Kolb Learning Style Inventory was used to identify each individual’s learning style (converging, accommodative, assimilative, or divergent).
Results: There were a total of 98 respondents (15% response rate), including 62 staff plastic surgeons (63%) and 36 trainees (37%). All regions of Canada and age categories were well represented. The most dominant learning styles were convergent (47%) and accommodative (29%). No significant difference in dominant learning styles existed between age groups; while males were more commonly convergent learners, females were accommodative learners.
Conclusions: The majority of plastic surgery trainees and staff have learning styles that rely heavily on practical application and experiential learning. Accounting for this propensity towards convergent and accommodative learning styles should be incorporated into training programs to maximize efficacy of learning.
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