Learning approach and teaching style preferred by pharmacy students: Implications for educational strategies in Zambia

Aubrey C Kalungia, Derick Munkombwe, Patrick Kaonga, Selestine Nzala, Bugewa Apampa, Gina Mulundu, Sekelani S Banda


Introduction: Identifying how students’ approach their learning and ways they prefer to learn can enable educators enhance teaching and learning experiences for quality educational outcomes.

Aim: This study explored the learning approaches and teaching style preferences of pharmacy students in Zambia.

Methods: The research instrument was the ‘Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students’ (ASSIST) questionnaire. Data were collected from 147 undergraduate pharmacy students at University of Zambia and statistically analysed using Stata 13.

Results: Strategic learning approach was predominant among a majority (67%) of pharmacy students. Only 25% adopted a deep learning approach and 7% were surface learners. Learning approach was statistically significantly associated with course load (p=0.028) and programme stage (p=0.010). The majority (67%) preferred teaching that transmitted information while only 23% preferred teaching styles that encouraged and supported understanding of taught material. There was no statistical association between students’ learning approach and their teaching style preference (p=0.085).

Conclusion: The predominance of strategic learning approach and preference for teaching that transmitted information raises concerns on current educational strategies employed by both the curriculum and educators.


Approach to Learning; Teaching Style Preference; Pharmacy; Students; Zambia

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