University of Oregon

Department of Human Physiology Graduate Studies in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine

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The Effectiveness of Active and Traditional Teaching Techniques in the Orthopedic Assessment Laboratory

Sara Nottingham MS, ATC

Objective: Active learning is a teaching methodology with a focus on student-centered learning that engages students in the educational process. This study implemented active learning techniques in the orthopedic assessment laboratory, and the effects of these teaching methods were evaluated in comparison to traditional teaching techniques.

Design and Setting: Subjects enrolled in six orthopedic assessment laboratories were divided into two groups. Each group underwent a different learning approach for 10 weeks.

Subjects: A total of 79 students (active group n = 41, traditional group n = 38) agreed to have their course grades and evaluations used for this study after the class had ended. Students were primarily human physiology majors taking an athletic training course.

Measurements: Mean scores from written exams (pre-test, midterm, final), practical exams (midterm, final), and final course evaluations were compared. One and two-way analyses of variance were used to evaluate the effect of teaching methodology on test scores and evaluation responses between groups, in addition to looking at the differences in test scores within groups over time.

Results: No significant differences were found for course evaluation responses and written and practical exam scores between the two learning groups.

Conclusions: This study suggests that students can be equally successful in well constructed active and traditional orthopedic assessment laboratories. In addition, students may have equally favorable opinions of both active and traditional laboratories.

Key words: active learning, athletic training education, student-centered teaching