Purpose: Prior study has demonstrated that certain learning strategies can be improved with training and instruction. As a result, downstream academic success may be potentiated. However, it is unclear if instructional intervention can influence academic outcomes among rehabilitation students. The purpose of this study was to compare changes in grade point average (GPA) after exposure to a set of standardized self-paced training modules on the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) in Physical therapy (PT) and Occupational therapy (OT) students. Methods: A causal-comparative design was used, and a multi-center convenience sample collected N=75 entry-level PT and OT students [PT: 41(55%); OT: 34(45%)] from Florida 32(42.7%); California 21(28%); and Texas 22(29.3%). Participants self-administered the LASSI measurement during the first four weeks of their first academic term. Then, students completed self-paced LASSI Plus+ training modules. Finally, a post-training LASSI measurement was collected at the end of the first term. GPA was collected at the end of term one and year one. Paired samples t-test was performed to compare pre- and post-training LASSI scores and GPA. Results: This study demonstrated significant differences between pre- and post-LASSI training for the scales of Concentration (+5.1; p<0.05), Self-testing (+8.9; p<0.01), Test Strategies (+8.1; p<0.01); and Time Management (+5.3; p<0.05). Significant relationships were found between change in GPA and the degree to which the LASSI scales of Anxiety (r= -0.68; p<0.05), Concentration (r= 0.61, p<0.01), Test Strategies (r= 0.42; p<0.01), and Time Management (r= 0.54; p<0.01) changed after intervention. A post-hoc analysis showed only the LASSI scales of Anxiety (d= -0.31; p<0.05), Concentration (d=0.25; p<0.01), and Test Strategies (d= 0.29; p<0.01) differed significantly between students experiencing academic difficulty (N=18[24%]). Conclusion: Training and instruction of learning strategies may modestly influence academic performance. Still, the degree to which these efforts may aid in the prevention or avoidance of academic difficulty is unclear.

Author Bio(s)

Evan M. Pucillo, PT, DPT, EdD is an award winning Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences where he teaches clinical neuroanatomy and research and evidence-based practice.

Gabriela Perez, OTD, OTR/L is an award winning Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Miami, FL where she teaches Human Anatomy.


This research was made possible through an internal institutional grant award for scholarly development.



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