USING COMPUTER SIMULATION, CONCEPT MAPPING, AND STUDENT INTERVIEW TO ASSESS CONCEPTUAL DEVELOPMENT AND GAPS IN KNOWLEDGE OF OXYGEN TRANSPORT AND UTILIZATION IN CARDIOPULMONARY PHYSIOLOGY.
Dennis R. Wissing, Ph.D., RRT, LSU Medical Center, Shreveport, LA James H. Wandersee, Ph.D., 15 Degree Laboratory, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA.
The purpose of this research was to explore how students and graduates from a BS-level RC education program develop and employ conceptual understanding of oxygen transport and utilization. The study focused on students' conceptual development and the presence of alternative conceptions, prior to, during, and following completion of a course in a cardiopulmonary physiology. Students completed exercises and simulated patient-case studies focusing on cardiopulmonary disease states via a computer simulation program for teaching physiology (SimBioSys, Ó1994-1997). Data were examined in reference to: 1) novice group A using the simulation program prior to each formal lecture, 2) novice group B using the simulation program following course completion, and 3) an intermediate group (graduate RCPs) who completed the simulation program following formal respiratory care education. Novice groups completed simulation exercises in cardiopulmonary physiology focusing on oxygen transport and utilization. The intermediates completed patient case studies focusing on ?real-life? management and treatment of patients with cardiopulmonary disease. A comparison of the academic achievement of all groups was made, and lines of critical reasoning were examined. Following the study, alternative conceptions, propositional knowledge statements, and gaps in understanding were identified and remediated. Data gathered from student groups included quantitative and qualitative data from student-generated concept maps, test scores, and protocol analysis for pre- and postinstructional interviews (See table). Results suggest that use of computer simulation, concept mapping, and interview may be an effective evaluative triad for assessing conceptual development and diagnosing gaps in knowledge, as well as for identifying alternative conceptions. Analysis of data revealed limited support for use of computer simulation to augment learning concepts of oxygen transport and utilization prior to lecture. It was demonstrated, however, that students' prelecture use of the simulation program helped assess learner knowledge, thus enabling the instructor to select and implement appropriate teaching strategies. Use of computer simulation following formal instruction was shown to be useful in identifying necessary remediation. An important result of the investigation was the delineation of effective instructional strategies leading to meaningful and mindful science learning to improve clinical problem-solving.