Learning Styles & Health Literacy

The Center for Knowledge Management's (CKM) research interests include studying how to enhance the delivery of health information materials by harnessing information about learning styles and health literacy.  In the team’s initial studies, which were conducted in the emergency department setting, CKM found that tailoring health information to patients’ health literacy level improved their understanding of information about hypertension.1  When the information was tailored to both health literacy and learning style preferences, patients demonstrated greater understanding of the material than when it was tailored to health literacy alone.2  CKM next demonstrated the reusability of this model in the community clinic setting for other conditions, including diabetes.3  Based on the success of the approach, the team then became interested in studying the applicability of the model for educating patients about precision medicine.  Through studies done in collaboration with the My Cancer Genome team, CKM showed the success of the approach of using health literacy and learning style principles to educate cancer patients and caregivers about precision medicine in two randomized controlled trials.4-5  Most recently, CKM research interests have expanded to examine the use of learning styles to enhance educational materials for healthcare providers.  This work was also done in collaboration with the My Cancer Genome team.6


Grant support:

  • Using Health Literacy and Learning Styles to Guide Oncology Patients through the Pharmacogenetic Maze of Personalized Medicine (IMLS LG-06-13-0180-13; completed November 2015)
  • Learning style assessment in healthcare professionals to address knowledge gaps around novel treatment strategies to overcome resistance to endocrine therapy in ER+ breast cancer (Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning & Change; completed August 2015)
  • Using Patient Literacy Levels and Learning Style Preferences to Optimize the Delivery of Health Information (IMLS LG-06-10-0186-10; completed November 2012)



1Koonce TY, Giuse NB, Storrow AB. A pilot study to evaluate learning style-tailored information prescriptions for hypertensive emergency department patients. J Med Libr Assoc. 2011 Oct;99(4):280-9.  

2Giuse NB, Koonce TY, Storrow AB, Kusnoor SV, Ye F. Using health literacy and learning style preferences to optimize the delivery of health information. J Health Commun. 2012;17 Suppl 3:122-40. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2012.712610.

3Koonce TY, Giuse NB, Kusnoor SV, Hurley S, Ye F. A personalized approach to deliver health care information to diabetic patients in community care clinics. J Med Libr Assoc. 2015 Jul;103(3):123-30. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.103.3.004.  

4Giuse NB, Kusnoor SV, Koonce TY, Naylor HM, Chen S, Blasingame M, Anderson IA, Micheel CM, Levy MA, Ye F, Lovly CM. Guiding Oncology Patients through the Maze of Precision Medicine. J Health Commun. Apr 4;21(Supplement 1):5-17.

5Justiss K., Kusnoor S.V., Lee P., Anderson I.A., Micheel C., Levy M.A. (2015). Using Learning Styles to Educate Healthcare Providers about New Treatment Strategies for Breast Cancer. Austin, TX: Medical Library Association Meeting, May 18, 2015.

6Kusnoor SV, Koonce TY, Levy MA, Lovly CM, Naylor HM, Anderson IA, Micheel CM, Chen SC, Ye F, Giuse NB. My Cancer Genome: Evaluating an Educational Model to Introduce Patients and Caregivers to Precision Medicine Information. AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc. 2016 Jul 20;2016:112-21.

7 Micheel, CM, Anderson IA, Lee P, Chen SC, Justiss K, Giuse NB, Ye F, Kusnoor SV, Levy MA. Internet-based Assessment of Oncology Healthcare Professional Leaning Style and Optimization of Materials for Web-based Learning: Controlled Trial with Concealed Allocation.. J Med Internet Res. 2017 Jul 25;19(7):e265. doi: 10.2196/jmir.7506.