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Continuing medical education sessions are often poorly attended by general practitioners. One reason may be that these traditionally consist of lectures by hospital consultants with a strong theoretical bias which may have little relevance to the learning needs of general practitioners. To compare the learning styles of teachers and learners in general practice, learning style questionnaires were administered to 50 hospital clinical tutors, 78 general practitioner trainers, 63 trainees and 47 non-trainer principals. The questionnaire covered four different learning preferences: activist, reflector, theorist and pragmatist. The findings showed that the learning styles of hospital tutors and general practitioner trainers were statistically significantly different to those of non-trainer principals and trainees. The tutors and trainers scored much higher on theorist styles and to a lesser extent on reflector and pragmatist styles. There were no significant differences on activist scores. Since teachers tend to teach in their preferred learning style, which may not match the style of the recipients, these findings have implications for continuing medical education in general practice. These implications are discussed.