A Blended Learning Model for a Neuroscience Course in a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Purpose : To develop, implement, and evaluate a blended learning model for a neuroscience course.Description : With the growth in the number of programs, a nationwide shortage of qualified instructors is recognized. One solution is to share instructors among programs using a blended learning model. Blended learning is a curriculum model in a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction while attending a traditional academic institution. It has successfully been introduced into a number of physical therapy education programs. Faculty members from two programs collaborated to develop, implement, and evaluate a blended teaching and learning model in which the host program shared an instructor from another program to deliver a neuroscience course that met the foundational science requirements specified in the Normative Model for Physical Therapist Education as well as the curricular requirements of the host program. DPT students at the host program take a mandatory 4 credit course, Neuroscience (PHTH 502) in the fall semester of their second professional year. This basic science course links to patient/client management and differential diagnoses courses that address physical therapy evaluation and interventions for individuals classified in Neuromuscular Practice Patterns. The Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) was available at both institutions and hence chosen as learning platform. The professor from the visiting program developed and posted all course material on the host programÕs Blackboard platform. This instructor also conducted monthly on-site lectures. A professor from the host university served as course coordinator. The blended model included weekly readings, quizzes, discussion board postings, and four exams.Summary of Use : The blended learning model was developed and implemented in 2013 Fall semester. The students taking this blended course performed slightly better (90.1%) compared to the students taking the traditional course in regard to their final grades (88.0%) but there was no significant difference (p=0.06). A survey with 18 Likert scale questions and 2 open-ended questions was conducted at the end. The overall feedback from the students was positive. For example, 91.6% of students strongly agreed or agreed that the content of the course is appropriate for learning neuroscience. 97.2% of students strongly agreed or agreed that the Blackboard site is well organized. 83.3% of students strongly agreed or agreed that the course prepares them to be an adult learner capable of using distance learning education delivery methods for future life-long learning. However, only 38.9% of students strongly agreed or agreed that the course is effective, indicating that there is still opportunity for this course to further improve.Importance to Members: The blended teaching and learning model can be used in other physical therapy education programs with similar needs. We suggest establishing a national or regional database to facilitate the collaborations.

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  • Control #: 2027025
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Weiqing Ge, MaryAnn Wharton
  • Keywords: Neuroscience|Education|Blended Learning

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