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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Roberta Olson


nursing student psychology, psychology of North American Indians, learning psychology, cognitive styles


Enrollment and retention in colleges for Native American nursing students continues to be a concern. Many educators assume that adults can adapt to all types of instruction. Research on learning styles reveals that individuals possess unique strengths and when their strengths are accommodated people learn more effectively.
The purpose of this study was to identify Native American nursing students' learning styles, the most and least preferred instructional methods, and factors that are most and least helpful in their success in an Associate Degree Tribal College. The study also explored the differences between the freshman and sophomore Native American nursing student in their learning styles and preferred instructional methods. Twenty-one Native American nursing students participated in this study.
The Productivity Environmental Preference Survey (PEPS) was the tool used to assess learning styles. Also, a questionnaire was developed by the researcher to identify these students' most and least preferred instructional methods as well as the factors that are most and least helpful in their success as nursing students.
This study found that lecture was the most preferred instructional method and films/videos were the second and third preferred instructional methods. Individual projects and student-led seminars were the least preferred instructional methods. No significant differences were found in preference for instructional methods by age, gender, or academic level.
A t-test was used to identify the differences between freshmen and sophomores in their learning styles, using the PEPS. The PEPS has 20 subscales. The sophomores were significantly higher in three subscales (light, authority-oriented leader, and tactile). Other dominant learning styles that were found for the Native American nursing students in this study were the preference for learning in the afternoon, having a high level of structure, and auditory learning. There were no significant differences found by age with learning styles. This study also found that the top factor associated with success as a nursing student was family support and the top barrier to success was personal problems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nursing students -- Psychology
Indians of North America -- Psychology
Learning, Psychology of
Cognitive styles



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1999 Robin Brown. All rights reserved