An Interactive Ebook for a Biophysical Agents Course in a DPT Program: A Pilot Study
Purpose: Technology is changing the way we teach. Blended learning environments, which include those using online technology and multimedia, are becoming more preferred by students over those that are strictly face-to-face. One way to incorporate multimedia delivery into a blended learning environment is through the use of an interactive eBook. Although eBooks are well received in medical education, research in regard to physical therapist students’ perceptions about the use of interactive eBooks and their impact on learning, is limited. The purpose of this pilot study was to obtain perceptions of first year physical therapist students regarding the use of an eBook as a supplement to their biophysical agents (BPA) coursework. A secondary purpose was to determine if use of the eBook had any impact on student learning of the material. Methods/Description: An eBook chapter containing the topic of superficial heat was created by the two instructors of the BPA course. The eBook contained various forms multimedia and interactive content including the following: dynamic illustrations and interactive graphics, videos of procedural interventions (including both correct and incorrect elements), embedded in-video quizzes, and a ‘drag and drop’ style quiz. Eighty-four students were invited to view the eBook, a total of 20 students reviewed the eBook and 11 students agreed to participate in a focus group. Focus group data was transcribed and coded using the constant comparative method by two experienced qualitative researchers. A midterm examination was given to all students one week after viewing the eBook. The chi-square test for 2 x 2 tables (corrected for continuity) was used to determine if there was a difference in the frequency of those who viewed the eBook compared to those who did not view the book, with respect to the frequency of correct responses for exam questions related to superficial heat. Results/Outcomes: Overall, students’ feedback to using the eBook was positive. Three key themes emerged from qualitative data analysis, including not replacing face-to-face instruction, preferring certain interactive elements of the eBook, and having control over the eBook in regard to pacing and time. There was no significant difference in the frequency of correct responses for those who viewed the eBook compared to those who did not for any of the questions. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: This study demonstrated that students perceived the eBook as a positive resource, but that they do not want an eBook to replace face-to-face instruction. Although the eBook did not improve student performance in this particular study, students expressed overall satisfaction with the eBook, and specifically the engagement and autonomy it offered them. The use of an eBook with interactive components and methods of student control can be a useful instructional tool in a blended, hybrid, or flipped course.