The Relationship Between Learning Style, Age, Gender, and Academic Standing On Psychomotor Skill Performance Among Undergraduate Athletic Training Students

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Benito Velasquez

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation


Recent changes in the professional preparation of athletic trainers have resulted in a necessity to quantify student learning experiences and outcomes. Traditional methods exist to assess student learning in the didactic portion of the educational program. In contrast, debate exists on the most efficient method for teaching and evaluating psychomotor skills. Few research studies in athletic training education address the influence of a student's learning style on psychomotor skill performance and no previous studies addresses the relationship between student age, gender, and academic standing particularly on a clinical, rather than academic, performance. The purpose of this study was to present educators with empirical data that described the relationship between a student's age, gender, academic standing, and learning style on psychomotor skill performance in the clinical setting. Athletic training students (N=100) from six Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accredited athletic training education programs participated in this study. Each participant completed a background information questionnaire and Kolb's Learning Style Inventory (LSI). Program directors from each institution reported clinical proficiency scores for each participant, attained during the fall 2004 semester. This study demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between student age, academic standing and clinical performance. These results established that the higher a student's age, the better the execution of clinical skills, while the higher the academic standing, the lower the clinical skill performance. Study results also indicated no statistically significant relationship between a participant's learning mode scores or learning dimension scores and mean clinical proficiency score. This implies that variables other than learning style play more important roles during the clinical education experience. The findings of this study have several practical implications for athletic training educators and clinical instructors. In order to accommodate younger students throughout the learning process, classroom and clinical educators should be more focused and intentional in their teaching and supervision efforts when dealing with these novice students. Additionally, educators are encouraged to establish minimum clinical performance standards, grading matrices or rubrics used to evaluate clinical performance. Students should be judged on these standards rather than being either strictly or leniently rated based on academic standing.