Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Messemer, Jonathan

Subject Headings

Genetic counseling -- Study and teaching -- United States, Students -- Education (Higher) -- United States, Cognitive styles, Effective teaching, genetic counseling education satisfaction learning environment learning style structural equation modeling


Formal education of master level genetic counseling trainees has occurred since the 1970s however, unlike other health care disciplines there has been no research conducted into their learning styles. Practice-based learning is widely utilized in the medical school setting however, it is unknown how extensive this teaching modality is used in the genetic counseling training programs. Use of this experiential learning technique has proven to be perceived positively by trainees in other fields. Furthermore, assessments of student satisfaction within genetic counseling training programs have not been performed. The purpose of this study was to determine the variables that affect genetic counselor trainees' learning styles and factors that influence student satisfaction specifically related to the learning environment, including the perception of practice-based learning (PBL) techniques. Overall, trainees are satisfied with the varied teaching techniques used within the genetic counseling training programs. According to the data, programs do not significantly modify the amount of PBL utilized between first and second year of study. Learning styles were assessed through the Kolb Learning Style Inventory and one predominant style did not emerge among the study sample. Additionally, there was no significant difference between first- and second-year trainees with regard to overall learning styles. Satisfaction with the learning environment was evaluated by the Genetic Counseling Training Learning Environment Scale which indicated trainees are satisfied with varied facets of their training programs. Structural equation modeling was used to determine which factors influence favorable ratings of the learning environment. The most significant finding from this study is that the perceived use of PBL instruction increased student satisfaction regardless of year of study. There was a slight increase in satisfaction for those with the converger learning style compared to the other three learning styles described by

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