Relationship between Learning Outcomes and StudentsÕ Attitudes toward Evidence-Based Physical Therapy Course

Purpose/Hypothesis : Purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between attitudes of doctoral physical therapy students toward a research course titled ÒEvidence-based Physical TherapyÓ (EBPT) and studentsÕ learning outcomes using survey questionnaire completed by physical therapy students before and after the coursework. This course contains applied knowledge of research design and statistics with goals to develop and enhance student abilities and skills in critically appraising the validity and applicability of research studies. Coursework emphasized appraisal of evidence in guidance of clinical decision-making in patient care. A potential barrier or obstacle to developing those important skills is studentsÕ attitudes toward the coursework, such as relatively low enthusiasm and little interest in this course. Such attitudes may be associated with studentsÕ learning outcomes.Number of Subjects : Fifty-eight doctoral physical therapy (DPT) studentsMaterials/Methods : A mixed design of quantitative and qualitative methods was used in this study. A purposive sample of 58 DPT students who were enrolled in EBPT course completed a survey questionnaire on the first and the last day of the course. The questionnaire was designed to investigate studentsÕ attitude toward this course and assess studentsÕ skills by self-reported level of confidence in appraising validity (e.g., internal, external and statistical validity) and clinical applicability. Those questions pertinent to attitude include such as ÒI feel that the knowledge and skills I gain from this research course will help me become a more competent therapistÓ to cite one here. Students were asked to choose one from five choices: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree and strongly agree. The level of confidence was rated on a scale of 0 to 10, i.e., the least to the highest degree. In addition, students also reflected upon their overall learning experiences. Spearman rank correlation was applied to examine the relationship between attitude and learning outcomes evaluated by differences in self-reported level of confidence between the pretest and posttest.Results : Correlation analyses showed weak correlations between the learning outcomes and attitudes toward the research course, with an averaged coefficient of 0.339 +/- 0.05.Conclusions : Results obtained from this study suggest that learning outcomes are related to multiple factors such as prior education, individual background, existing knowledge and experiences in research. Attitude is simply one element among several others under the multifaceted condition. Future research utilizing experimental study approach and incorporating other factors may be warranted to further elucidate the key factors that may enhance or hinder learning in EBPT.Clinical Relevance : Evidence-based physical therapy is an essential component in ethical clinical practice. It is clinically relevant to have a better understanding of relational and influential factors on studentsÕ learning outcomes in order to improve the quality of patient care.

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  • Control #: 2026698
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: RuiPing Xia, Susan G. Klappa
  • Keywords: evidence-based physical therapy|attitude|learning outcomes

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