Psychomotor Skills, Physical Therapy, and a Hybrid Course: A Case Study

By Lazinski, Melissa J. | Distance Learning, October 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Psychomotor Skills, Physical Therapy, and a Hybrid Course: A Case Study


Lazinski, Melissa J., Distance Learning


INTRODUCTION

Approximately 75% of the content of a typical doctor of physical therapy (PT) course does not require the instructor and students to be together in the same classroom, laboratory, or clinic. Physical therapist education includes a large amount of psychomotor clinical skills. Traditionally, psychomotor skills are taught face to face in laboratory courses with teacher-led skill introduction and demonstration followed by student practice with instructor feedback (Gaida et al., 2016; Maloney, Storr, Paynter, Morgan, & Ilic, 2013). A goal of hybrid course redesign is to balance elements essential to face to face with those that can be delivered online. Ideally, online and face-to-face classrooms work in a symbiotic way without being duplicative. The dynamic nature of learning psychomotor skills makes hybrid redesign of PT courses challenging. This article describes the redesign of a traditional PT lab course using the community of inquiry (CoI) model as a framework and Google Blogger as the main platform for an online skills lab. A description and discussion of course design, time allocations, student learning outcomes, and student perceptions are provided.

Student needs for flexibility and rising health care workforce demands influence a trend toward hybrid delivery in health care education; however, substantiation of the ways technology can effectively replace face-to-face instruction is needed (Brandt, Quake-Rapp, Shanedling, Spannaus-Martin, & Martin, 2010). Hybrid education is a category of distance education in which online activities replace face-toface activities. This contrasts with other models of blended learning such as a flipped classroom, which incorporate online instruction as an adjunct to face-toface instruction without a reduction of face-to-face time. Garrison and Vaughn (2008) described hybrid or blended learning as a "thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences" (p. 8). The Col model provides a framework for hybrid course design using online and face-to-face instruction in a way that each mode enhances without duplicating the other (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2010). The mixture of online and face-toface activities varies from case to case (Means et al., 2013). In the Col model, three essential components overlap to create an educational experience: teaching presence, cognitive presence, and social presence (Garrison & Vaughn, 2008; see Figure 1). Teaching presence is the design of class activities, facilitation of discourse, and direction of instruction. Cognitive presence comes as students engage, explore, and integrate the course content. Social presence occurs as class participants interact in open communication, to build camaraderie and group cohesion (Garrison & Vaughn, 2008).

EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY IN PHYSICAL THERAPY EDUCATION

Recent systematic reviews found that integration of educational technologies in health care education was equivalent or better than traditional teaching methods alone (George et al., 2014; Rasmussen et al., 2014). Heterogeneity of studies prevents more definitive conclusions, but emerging evidence supports the use of educational technologies in PT education. A variety of approaches have been described including flipped classroom methods, using supplemental technology resources, and using collaborative technology tools. As in higher education in general, PT education most commonly uses technology to teach didactic content or achieve cognitive objectives (Rowe, Bozalek, & Frantz, 2013). In studies comparing a flipped model to traditional teaching methods for didactic content, student learning outcomes and perceptions varied, but variation in methods may account for some of the differences. One study found improved student learning outcomes using flipped methods (Boucher, Robertson, Wainner, & Sanders, 2013). Another found no difference in overall student performance scores, but those in the flipped group did better with higher order questions (Bayliss & Warden, 2011). …

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