Developing the Collaborative Relationship between PT and PTA Students through the Use of Technology and Shared Case-Study Experiences

Purpose/Hypothesis : The purposes of this study were to 1) assess the impact of a collaborative learning project using technology on studentsÕ knowledge of the professional roles of the PT and PTA; 2) assess the impact of the learning project on studentsÕ perceptions of the preferred PT-PTA relationship; and 3) compare the effectiveness of a traditional classroom model verses the collaborative learning project on studentsÕ knowledge of the professional roles of the PT and PTA. We hypothesized that the project would enhance studentsÕ knowledge of the professional roles and foster an appreciation for the PT-PTA relationship aided by collaborative work and technology.Number of Subjects : 49 1st year PT and 26 2nd year PTA students participated.Materials/Methods : 26 PT and 26 PTA students were paired and presented with patient vignettes. Groups collaborated to create and implement a physical therapy plan of care based on a mock patient scenario. The students were required to collaborate via written communication and video conferencing in order to document changes to the patientÕs care. 23 other PT students worked through the vignettes independently and received traditional classroom instruction on the roles and responsibilities of the PT and PTA. A pretest/posttest questionnaire was used to capture the studentsÕ knowledge of the appropriate roles of the PT and PTA. In addition, all participants were asked to complete an open-ended questionnaire and 8 PT and 9 PTA students who participated in the collaborative learning project joined in summative focus group interviews. Paired and unpaired t-tests were used to quantify the results of the questionnaire. Qualitative methods were utilized to understand the studentsÕ perception of the project and knowledge of professional roles.Results : A significant difference existed between pretest and posttest questionnaire scores for PT and PTA students working collaboratively (t=-2.447, p=0.018). No significant difference existed between questionnaire scores for paired-PT students and independent-PT students (t=1.260, p=0.214). The qualitative material indicated that PT and PTA students perceived an improved level of understanding of the professional role of the PTA. Despite difficulties in using technology to communicate, participants suggested that this model be continued, noting an enhanced appreciation of the preferred PT-PTA relationship.Conclusions : The technology driven collaborative instructional model presented is effective in teaching students about the roles of the PT and PTA and provides an authentic learning opportunity to foster the development of the preferred PT-PTA relationship.Clinical Relevance : This collaborative project between PT and PTA students may promote early and accurate knowledge of the PT and PTA professional roles to allow for more effective and efficient collaboration in the clinical environment.

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  • Control #: 1724602
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Jodi Dusi, Kelly M. Lindenberg
  • Keywords: collaborative learning|video technology

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