Comparison between the Traditional and Modified Online and Laboratory Learning in Clinical Neuroscience Course
Purpose/Hypothesis: The previous instructional delivery that was employed by the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) – Miami Campus in its clinical neuroscience course was the traditional online and laboratory learning. In this study, traditional online and laboratory learning or “traditional learning” is defined as a learning strategy that is facilitated through online lectures and just pure identification of structures utilizing the dry and wet laboratories. Currently, there is a new instructional delivery that was just recently employed in this course at the USAHS – Miami Campus. This novel instructional delivery is called modified online and laboratory learning. In this study, modified online and laboratory learning or “modified learning” is defined as a learning strategy that is facilitated through a combination of online lectures, pre-laboratory discussions using images and dry models in a classroom setting, wet laboratory discussions utilizing multiple stations, timed group sessions per station, and post-laboratory discussions using the Anatomage 3D Anatomy table version 6.3. This study aimed to compare the examination results of the two cohorts that utilized either of the two types of instructional delivery in clinical neuroscience. The study also aimed at measuring the cohort’s satisfaction with the modified online and laboratory learning strategy using the modified Net Promoter Score (NPS). Number of Subjects: 43 Materials and Methods: This study is a quantitative study design. The cohort that used the traditional learning was the Fall 2018 cohort or the “traditional cohort,” while the cohort that utilized the modified learning was the Spring 2019 cohort or the “modified cohort.” Modified learning is a novel strategy of instructional delivery that was initiated in the clinical neuroscience course in Spring 2019. To further describe the strategy, the modified cohort students received an online lecture component that was facilitated by a single faculty. The online lecture is composed of recorded voice over PowerPoint presentations and online collaboration of the faculty and students enrolled in the class. In contrast, the laboratory component was facilitated by a core faculty assisted by a contributing faculty member. The laboratory was divided into four main components namely the (1) pre-laboratory discussion, (2) wet laboratory discussions in multiple stations, (3) timed group discussion in each station, and (4) post-laboratory discussion using the Anatomage table per group. The pre-laboratory discussion utilized the traditional method of discussing neuroanatomy using electronic images (i.e. pictures, MRI, CT-scans) and dry models of neuroanatomical structures. The pre-laboratory discussion was followed by the wet laboratory discussions using the actual neuroanatomical specimens. The wet laboratory session was modified in such a way that multiple stations were created. Each station consisted of related neuroanatomical structures with labels. In each station, the core faculty identifies and discusses with the class all the pertinent neuroanatomical structures using the actual neuroanatomical specimens and dry models. After the identification and discussion, students will be equally distributed to the different stations and will be given several minutes before moving to the next station until each group has completed identifying the structures amongst themselves in all the stations. This activity is performed with no to minimal guidance from the faculty to facilitate active learning. During the last hour of the session, the class will be divided into two groups. The first group then should proceed to the Anatomage room for a post-laboratory discussion with the core faculty. The other group remains in the wet laboratory with the contributing faculty to have a break and/or continue with the identification of structures. After 45 minutes, the groups will switch. And finally, the class will reconvene to conclude the class and to answer some questions from students. For data analysis, data from 53 students in the traditional cohort and 43 students in the modified cohort were included. SPSS version 25.0 for Windows was used for this process. The satisfaction of the Spring 2019 cohort was measured using the modified NPS with the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend the instructional delivery in this course (clinical neuroscience) to the faculty of future cohorts who will be taking the same course?” Results: Results showed a significant difference between the examination scores for the two cohorts. In examination 1, modified cohort scored significantly higher as compared to the traditional cohort, p<0.01 (Modified: M= 66.7, SD=4.2; Traditional: M= 59.1, SD=8.3.) In examination 2, modified cohort scored higher as compared to the traditional cohort however, it was not statistically significant, p=0.13 (Modified: M= 61.1, SD=59.2; Traditional: M= 58.1, SD=59.2.) In examination 3, modified cohort scored significantly higher as compared to the traditional cohort, p<0.01 (Modified: M= 73.6, SD=5.2; Traditional: M= 58.1, SD=8.6.) Combining the scores in the three examinations, modified cohort scored significantly higher as compared to the traditional cohort, p<0.01 (Modified: M= 67, SD=7.3; Traditional: M= 58, SD=8.7.) Out of the 43 students in the modified cohort, only 40 (93%) responded to the modified NPS survey. Out of the 40 students who responded, 35 students (87.5%) were classified as “promoters,” 4 students (10%) were classified as “passives,” while 1 student (2.5%) was classified as a “detractor.” Based on these numbers, the modified NPS score is 85 which is interpreted as excellent. Conclusions: Based on the results of the study, researchers concluded that the modified online and laboratory learning is more effective as compared to the traditional online and laboratory learning. It was also concluded that students who took clinical neuroscience course using the modified learning approach are satisfied with the way the class was organized. Clinical Relevance: Based on these conclusions, it is recommended that modified online and laboratory learning should be utilized in clinical neuroscience classes in all five (5) campuses of USAHS.