Assessing the Effectiveness of Online Training for Clinical Instructors as Measured by Student Perception and CI Practice

Purpose/Hypothesis : Due to the current scrutiny of Physical Therapy (PT) clinical education, emergent models are receiving mixed reviews. Revision of the clinical education model will take intentional steps examining not only length, setting, and number of clinical rotations but also best practices in Clinical Instructor (CI) education. This mixed methods studyÕs purpose was to uncover how CI best practices can be learned and maintained over time through use of an online learning environment. The studyÕs quantitative hypothesis was students would rate module-taught CIs higher than non-module-taught CIs. The associated qualitative theme stated the findings would show the treatment-group students experienced module-taught best practices. The second quantitative hypothesis stated that after a nine-week inactive period, the treatment-group CIs would utilize best practices in a hypothetical case. The associated theme stated CIs would demonstrate maintained module-taught, best practices in the case.Number of Subjects : The participants consisted of 19 DPT students and 21 CIs who served as mentors for the studentsÕ third clinical rotation.Materials/Methods : CIs were assigned to either a control or treatment group. Control group-CIsÕ data established a baseline. Treatment group-CIs completed an online module prior to a clinical rotation and then participated in a series of data collection activities following the rotation. Students completed a confidential feedback form to assess their CIsÕ performances.Results : Quantitative data was analyzed with Wilcoxin Signed Ranks and Mann Whitney U tests. Qualitative data was analyzed using Grounded Theory. Quantitative findings did not make a distinction between the two student groups, qualitative themes reflected a differentiated learning environment for treatment group-students as their responses revealed treatment group-CIs used module-taught best practices. Treatment group-CIs perceived an improvement in the quality of their mentoring skills as well as maintained best practices after a nine-week inactive period. Lastly, the results led to the development of a model for CI development and maintenance of best practices.Conclusions : The CI demand for increased online resources that centered on clinical education contributed to the development of the online learning module. The derived model demonstrated how CIs could maintain best practices through the intentional design of the educational experience. While not generalizable to a greater population due to sample size, the study suggests CIs were able to maintain learned, best practices using immediacy in education, distributed clinical practice, and reflection.Clinical Relevance : The study provides a foundation for further development of online CI education and best practices. By continuing the examination of these two entities, physical therapy clinical education can move towards new models through evidence-based, CI best practices and exploration of its relationship to student outcomes.

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  • Control #: 1718898
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Chalee Engelhard, Kay Seo
  • Keywords: Clinical Education |Online learning|Best practices

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