Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Education and International Services

Program

Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Anneris Coria-Navia

Second Advisor

Jerome Thayer

Third Advisor

Heather Ferguson

Abstract

Purpose

The complexity of preparing students for clinical practice and the mitigating factors that influence pedagogical preferences impact the current realities of health professional education. The purpose of this quantitative, correlational study is to explain the relationships between faculty preferences and student preferences for active over traditional methods and their beliefs, the frequency and positiveness of their experiences, and the amount and extent of the knowledge or training they have had regarding active and traditional teaching methods. Results may further inform and refine health professional education infrastructure changes to support faculty in pedagogical change as they prepare students with the higher-order thinking skills needed for clinical practice in the workforce setting.

Method

This study used regression and correlation to analyze Doctorate of Physical Therapy, graduate Communication Sciences and Disorders, and undergraduate nursing faculty and student data. Analyses were conducted on faculty and students as a whole, by program, and type of course to determine any group differences. Pearson r correlations were computed to determine the strength and direction of the relationships between the variables for both faculty and student data. A regression analysis was used to determine the smallest meaningful combination of independent variables (faculty and student beliefs toward active over traditional, positive faculty and student experiences with active over traditional, more frequent faculty and student experiences with active over traditional, and student knowledge of and faculty training in active over traditional methods) which predicted student or faculty preferences for active over traditional methods.

Results

Strong positive relationships exist between faculty preference for active over traditional methods and the frequency of their experiences, the positiveness of their experiences, and their beliefs toward active learning methods. A 2-variable model reveals a combination of more frequent faculty experiences with active over traditional methods and positive faculty experiences with active over traditional methods predicting 86.1% (R2 = .861, p = .036) of the variance of faculty preferences for active over traditional methods. More frequent faculty experiences uniquely predict 26.0% and positive faculty experiences with active methods uniquely predict 2.25% of the variance in faculty preferences for active over traditional methods. Strong positive relationships are found between student preferences for active over traditional methods and their knowledge of active methods, their beliefs toward active over traditional methods, and the positiveness of their experiences with active over traditional methods. The 3-variable model reveals a combination of student knowledge, student beliefs, and positive student experiences with active over traditional methods predicting 72.5% (R2 = .725, p < .001) of the variance in student preferences for active over traditional teaching methods. Student knowledge about active over traditional methods uniquely predicts 16.0%, student beliefs toward active over traditional methods uniquely predicts 7.2%, and positive student experiences with active over traditional methods uniquely predict 2.3% of the variance in student preferences for active over traditional methods. There are minimal group differences for faculty and students when examined by the program (DPT, CSD, and BSN) and type of course (introductory or advanced).

Conclusions

The study demonstrates differences between the variables predicting faculty and student preferences for active over traditional methods. The independent variable, which uniquely predicts the most significant variance in faculty preference for active over traditional methods, is more frequent faculty experiences (26%). In comparison, student knowledge of active methods (15.8%) is the independent variable that uniquely predicts the most variance in student preference for active over traditional methods. More frequent faculty experiences with active over traditional methods provide faculty with repeated experiences to develop and create learning activities and assessments as they gain confidence as experts in delivering content effectively through active learning methods. As faculty have more time to revise their courses and demonstrate more confidence with active methods, students perceive the competence and provide more positive course feedback (Andrews & Lemons, 2015; Grunspan et al., 2018; Oleson & Hora, 2014; Sinclair & Osborn, 2014). When students know more about the expectations of active learning methods and how the methods benefit their learning, they prefer active methods over traditional methods (Tharayil et al., 2018). The results contribute to the current body of research and inform health professional education programs with recommendations that influence pedagogical change and support faculty and students. Supported faculty and knowledgeable students create a culture, which prepares students adequately for clinical practice, higher-order thinking skills, and workforce expectations.

Subject Area

Effective teaching--Methodology; Medical education; Medical personnel

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