A Multi-Center Comparison of Orthopaedic Attending and Resident Learning Styles

Gabriel Lensing, Travis Fortin, Martin McCandless, Eldrin Bhanat, Josny Thimothee, Matthew Graves, Vaishali Laljani, Dawn LaPorte, Jaysson T. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Effective education of orthopedic residents requires an understanding of how they process information. To date however no literature has described resident learning styles based on the updated Kolb Learning Style Inventory (KLSI) v4.0. The purpose of this study is to identify common learning styles amongst orthopedic residents and attendings and evaluate the effect that race, gender, and resident/attending status have on learning styles. DESIGN: The KLSI v4.0 and a demographic survey were distributed to 103 orthopedic attendings and residents at two academic centers during the 2019 to 2020 academic year. Frequencies and descriptive statistics were reported. Learning styles based on gender, race, attending versus resident status, and institution were evaluated. A p-value < 0.05 was considered significant. SETTING: This is a multi-center study performed at two academic, university based orthopedic surgery departments. PARTICIPANTS: Orthopaedic surgery residents and attending surgeons. RESULTS: At both institutions, the combined response rate for the KLSI v4.0 was 66% and 68% for the demographic surgery. The three most common learning styles recorded were: Deciding (26.5%), Acting (17.6%), and Thinking (17.6%). Learning styles were compared by gender, race, attending and/or resident status, and institution with no statistically significant difference found between any of the comparisons (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION: The majority of orthopedic surgeons have Deciding, Acting, or Thinking learning styles, which are categorized by motivation to achieve goals, disciplined and logical reasoning, and the use of theories and models to solve problems. However, not all residents and attendings utilize these common learning styles. A mismatch in learning styles between residents and attendings could result in poor educational experiences. Understanding the learning styles of orthopedic surgeons has implications for improving evaluation interpretation, mentorship pairing, quality of life, and resident remediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • attending
  • gender
  • learning styles
  • orthopedic
  • race
  • resident

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'A Multi-Center Comparison of Orthopaedic Attending and Resident Learning Styles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this