The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS AND PREFERRED LEARNING STYLES OF RESPIRATORY CARE STUDENTS

Joshua F. Gonzales1, Gregg Marshall1, Thomas Stokes1, Christopher Russian1



Background: The purpose of the project is to assess pretest/post-test differences in 1) critical thinking skills using the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) and 2) learning-style preferences using the Kolb's Learning Style Inventory (LSI), Version 3.1, for respiratory care students enrolled in one section of Applied Pathology (N=27) following computerized clinical simulation practice sessions. Critical thinking concepts are currently taught in this course with required clinical simulation exercises for practice in information-gathering (IG) and decision-making (DM) skill development. Assessment of skill differences in pre-test/post-test scores for WGCTA and Kolb's LSI outcomes were analyzed.
Research Question:Is there a significant difference in the pretest/posttest WGCTA scores following clinical simulation practice?
Is there a significant difference in the pretest/posttest LSI scores following clinical simulation practice?

Methodology: Clinical simulation examination exercises are currently utilized to develop information-gathering (IG) and decision-making (DM) skills in Applied Pathology. Students practiced specified clinical simulation modules until they reached a mastery score of 85% in both IG and DM. This study examined the effect of clinical simulation practice on WGCTA and Kolb's LSI scores. Differences in pretest/posttest LSI scores were examined by calculating mean scores and repeated measures t-test.

Results: Repeated measures T-test analysis demonstrated the following results: Comparison of Concrete Experience pre/post analysis reveals no significant change (t= 0.245, df=26, σ = 6.29). Comparison of Reflective Observation pre/post analysis reveals no significant change (t= -.158, df=26, σ =6.09). Comparison of Abstract Conceptualization pre/post analysis reveals no significant change (t=.421, df=26, σ = 4.57). Comparison of Active Experimentation pre/post analysis reveals no significant change (t=.529, df=26 σ =5.82). Student results on WGCTA did however demonstrate a 59% improvement between pre and post test scores.

Conclusion: The research showed no significant changes in learning style preferences when examining pretest/post-test LSI scores. A substantial number of students did however show noteworthy improvements in critical thinking skill levels reflected by improved WGCTA scores.