The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

THE IMPACT OF COMPLETING AUTHENTIC TASKS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS.

Nancy E. Colletti; Respiratory Care, Kettering College, Kettering, OH

Background: Competent Respiratory Therapists must possess critical thinking skills. There is a need to identify effective instructional strategies that facilitate the development of critical thinking skills in respiratory care students. This quasi-experimental research study applied the APLUS (Activate, Plan, Learn, Use, Show) instructional design model to support authentic learning tasks in Respiratory Care education to determine the impact of completing authentic tasks on the development of critical thinking skills. Methods: Fifty-one students enrolled in accredited Respiratory Care programs participated in this study. The Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) was used to measure critical thinking skills. The treatment group consisted of 24 participants who completed the authentic task along with traditional learning tasks. The control group consisted of 27 participants who completed only traditional learning tasks. Descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA, and MANOVA were used for data analysis at the significance level of 0.05 (p < 0.05). Results: Pretest mean score was 18.1±3.9 for the treatment group and 17.1±4.7 for the control group. Posttest mean score was 18.9±3.9 for the treatment group and 16.1±5.7 for the control group. The difference in mean scores pre- and posttest were not statistically significant for either the treatment (t(23) = -0.59, p = 0.56) or the control group (t(26) = 1.09, p = 0.29). Applying ANOVA to control for the effects of the co-variables of age, prior college experience, and GPA on total HSRT scores, there were statistically significant differences in total critical thinking posttest scores between the treatment and control groups (F(1, 46) = 5.585, p = .02). When the MANOVA statistic was applied to control for the effects of the pretest on each of the sub-scale scores, there was a statistically significant difference between the treatment and control group (F(1, 48) = 12.l4, p = .001). Conclusions: Completing the authentic learning task slightly improved overall critical thinking scores. The degree to which the participants’ critical thinking scores improved becomes more pronounced when the effects of pretesting, age, prior college experience, and GPA are statistically controlled. Further study is needed with a larger sample size and over a longer study period to understand the full effect of authentic learning tasks on the development of critical thinking skills. Sponsored Research - None