The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2001 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

PROBLEM-BASEDLEARNING (PBL) IMPROVES PROBLEM-SOLVING AND DECISION-MAKING SKILLS (PSDMS)

Timothy B. Op't Holt, Ed.D.,R.R.T. University ofSouth Alabama, Mobile, Alabama

Background:The medical literature describes PBL as a mechanism for improving students?PSDMS. PBL has been used in health professions education for over 20 years.Evaluation of PBL has revealed that students? PSDMS have improved. Students?cognitive skills are as good or better than those of students taking traditionallecture-lab courses. The purpose of this study was to determine if the PBL componentof our Cardiorespiratory Care curriculum at the University of South Alabamahas improved PSDMS.

Methods: A PBL componentwas established in the curriculum in the fall of 1998. The junior fall semesterbegins with eight weeks of preparatory lecture and laboratory courses includingan introduction to the PBL methodology. In successive semesters, PBL and clinicalcomponents for basic therapeutics, intensive care, neonatal/pediatrics, cardiacdiagnostics, and subacute care are taught. Beginning in the fall of 1996 andcontinuing through the spring of 2001, entering juniors and departing seniorscompleted the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (CTA). CTA data fortwo non-PBL classes and two PBL classes were obtained. Since the National Boardfor Respiratory Care Clinical Simulation Examination (NBRC CSE) is regardedas a test of critical thinking, information gathering (IG) and decision-making(DM) scores for graduating seniors on the secure self-assessment CSE were includedin this study. To determine if the non-PBL students were more or less able thanPBL students, overall GPAs (OGPAs) at the end of the senior year fall semesterwere evaluated. Comparisons were made using student's T-test with a p valueof 0.05 considered significant. Comments made by the first PBL class on graduatesurveys used for accreditation purposes were also reviewed.

Results:

Dependent VariableNon-PBL Students(n=32; mean±SD)PBL Students(n=22; mean±SD)p value
change in CTAscore-2.75±8.5-1.59±7.80.61
CSE SAE IGscore200.86±17.2196.14±20.20.40
CSE SAE DMscore85.21±18.490.50±19.90.72
% PASS34.345.0
OGPA3.05±0.4 3.04Ñ0.9

0.91

Several year 2000 graduates indicatedthat they thought their PSDMS were better than those of colleagues who had notexperienced a PBL curriculum. The pass rate on the CSE SAE increased, due almostentirely to improved DM scores.

Discussion: Since the CSEassesses PSDMS, we conclude that PBL has had a positive impact on students?PSMDS. CTA scores may have decreased due to the fact that graduating studentstake the CTA the same day as the CSE and have many other end-of-program responsibilities.Therefore, students likely dismiss the importance of the CTA, which caused theCTA to be an insensitive measure of PSDMS. No difference in the academic abilityof the two groups of students existed, so GPA had no differential influenceon CSE or CTA scores.

Conclusion: Since PBL studentshave commented that they thought their DM skills were better than those of theirnon-PBL colleagues and because of the improved CSE SAE pass rate, we concludethat PBL has improved PSDMS. We will eliminate using the CTA and will continueto evaluate the PBL experience using CSE scores for PBL and non-PBL students.

OF-01-127

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