Perceptions of Physical Therapy Students of a Newly Developed Presentation Format
Presentations are an integral part of Physical therapy education and practice. Sharing knowledge gained by researching a certain topic or introducing a clinical scenario is essential and commonplace in our profession. In a traditional presentation method, one individual or a group presents to entire cohort. However, these methods are passive, and it is difficult to maintain attention for longer than ten minutes. Additionally, large group presentations do not provide intimate engagement with the audience, and it is difficult to assess for understanding. Small group presentations provide a promising alternative to traditional presentation methods. These presentations are more personable, promote discussions, foster problem-solving skills and might help with building confidence. The purpose of this project is to examine a newly developed presentation method in first year Doctor of Physical Therapy students.
Thirty-six first year Doctor of Physical Therapy students were each required in their Introduction to Physical Therapist Practice course to complete a culminating presentation on their recent clinical experience. The students were first divided into twelve groups of three. Three groups were clustered to form a rotation team. Each team operated as an individual unit. One student from one group presented to each group in their team for a total of three times by rotating to each team table, thereby getting an opportunity to share their experiences in a small group setting. Students used power point to guide their presentations. Students submitted a post-presentation survey with three open-ended questions regarding their learning experiences with this type of presentation as a presenter and a listener.
Thirty-six participants responded to the survey. Two investigators separately reviewed each response and identified common themes to complete the theme analysis. As a presenter, 19/36 (52.7%) participants reported that they were able to Òfine tuneÓ their presentation with each iteration and were confident by the third round, and 14/36 (25%) reported that they improved presentation time managementwith every iteration and felt more confident and focused. Additionally, as a listener, 12/36 (33%) reported that theylearned from their peersÕ clinical experiences, and 23/36 (64%) felt that small groups were more engaging than large group presentations, specifically, as listeners they were able to pay more attention, make eye contact, be engaged and actively listen.
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:
The results of our pilot study show that small group presentations provide a more conducive environment for active learning, stimulating discussions and team building. This presentation format promoted both content learning and improving presentation style for PT students. Small group presentations help build confidence in students without raising anxiety levels, while also preparing them for in-service presentations during clinical education experiences and in their future practice settings.