Evaluating the Impact of Problem-Based Learning on Learning Styles of Master's Students in Nursing Administration

Constance M. Baker, Daniel J. Pesut, Anna M. McDaniel, Mary L. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Problem-based learning (PBL) was adopted in 1999 as the major teaching strategy in the four core courses of the master of science in nursing (MSN) program in Nursing Administration. Three standardized tests were used to assess the impact of PBL on student learning and performance. This article reports a study designed to assess the impact of a PBL curriculum on master's students' Learning Style Inventory (LSI-IIa). Experiential learning theory is used in this descriptive comparative design to compare LSI scores of 29 MSN students before and after two consecutive semesters of using PBL in Nursing Administration core courses. The post-PBL findings suggest that, in the learning cycle, students' preference increased for the conceptualizing-experiencing pole. Prior to PBL, 38% of the students selected the accommodator learning style and 34% selected the converger learning style. In post-PBL, 11 students changed their learning style, fewer students were in the accommodator group, and the converger group was unchanged. Differences in LSI scores are compared with those of post-RN students and medical students experiencing PBL curriculum changes. Assessing student outcomes in Nursing Administration MSN curriculum is possible with standardized tests designed by management and psychology educators. Experiential learning theory is a useful perspective from which to study PBL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-219
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Experiential learning theory
  • Health profession education
  • Learning styles
  • Nursing education
  • Problem-based learning


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