How preferred learning approaches change with time: a survey of GPs and GP Specialist Trainees

Pamela Curtis, Gordon Taylor, Michael Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST) questionnaire assesses whether learners prefer a deep, strategic or surface approach to learning. This study aimed to establish the effect of time since qualification, gender and work role on ASSIST scores of General Practitioners (GPs) and GP Specialist Trainees (GPSTs). Methods: An anonymous online questionnaire with demographic questions and the ASSIST survey was completed by 1005 GPs and GPSTs from across the United Kingdom. Results: Of the 544 GPs and 461 GPSTs completing the survey, 96.5% preferred a deep and/or strategic approach to learning. There was a significant increase in the preference for a deep approach with time from graduation and significantly less preference for a surface approach. There was no significant change in any of the scores over the GPST years. Men had significantly higher scores for a deep approach than women. Conclusions: GPs and GPSTs prefer deep and strategic approaches to a surface approach. While higher levels of GP experience are associated with a higher deep approach score and a lower surface approach score, this change is not seen during progression through GP training. Men have higher scores for a deep approach than women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-227
Number of pages6
JournalEducation for Primary Care
Issue number4
Early online date23 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018



  • ASI: Approaches to Studying Inventory
  • ASSIST: Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students
  • GP: General Practitioner
  • GPST: General Practitioner Specialist Trainee
  • Graduate medical education
  • LSI: Learning style inventory
  • LSQ: Learning Styles Questionnaire
  • MRCGP: Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners
  • OSCE: Objective Structured Clinical Examination
  • SD: Standard Deviation
  • UK: United Kingdom
  • continuing medical education
  • general practice
  • learning styles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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