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Abstract

Computer-assisted learning (CAL) interventions have been used in contemporary allied health and medical education to supplement classroom instruction. Emphasis has shifted from tutorial activities to creating interventions that address higher level critical thinking skills. Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate student perceptions of their critical thinking skills and overall impression of a CAL intervention. Methods: Videotape of patient treatment activities were embedded into a Microsoft PowerPoint™ presentation to guide students through the processes of evaluation and treatment to create a CAL module. Physical therapy students from two neighboring universities volunteered to participate. Students were randomly assigned to either Group 1 (CAL module) or Group 2 (video) and viewed their intervention following traditional lecture and lab activities. Students then completed Minute Papers and members of Group 1 participated in a Focus Group Discussion. Common threads and themes were generated by triangulating the numerical data from the Minute Papers with the written and verbal responses from the Minute Papers and Focus Group Discussion. Results: Significant differences were detected with the Mann Whitney U tests of the median Likert scores comparing the CAL module and video groups on the Minute Papers on four of seven items. The qualitative data generally revealed positive student perceptions related to the interventions, with the responses being more favorable towards the module than the video intervention. The majority of students felt that the interventions offered visual reinforcement, supplemented their learning experience, and further developed their clinical reasoning skills. Conclusions:Student response to the CAL module was more favorable than to the video alone. This instructional intervention warrants further investigation.

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