Student Physical Therapist Use of Digital Textbooks and Electronic Media
Purpose: It is nearly impossible to complete a day of school or work without access to a laptop, Wi-Fi, smartphone, or tablet. Consequently, digital textbooks have become an attractive option for students, faculty, and administrators (Daniel). Researchers have discovered several unique advantages to digital textbooks including features such as interactive learning modules, multimedia experiences, references, and resources for topics of interest (Keena). Staiger found that students enjoyed the search feature, as well as the ability to electronically highlight, bookmark, and annotate. Eno found that nursing students appreciated the lighter weight and significant reduction of paper. Mennenga found that students appreciated up to date information and enjoyed the environmental friendliness. Rockinson et al. found that students who used digital textbooks for their courses “had significantly higher perceived learning and psychomotor learning than students who chose to use traditional print textbooks.” Yet despite the appeal of digital textbooks, multiple authors have reported students prefer printed textbooks over digital. The purpose of our study was to identify the perceptions and use of digital textbooks and electronic media by doctoral physical therapist (DPT) students.Methods/Description: Based on previous studies, a survey instrument was created by the authors and distributed electronically using Qualtrics. The survey included 30 questions related to use and preference of traditional books vs. digital texts. Students from 2 DPT programs in different regions of the country completed the survey. SPSS was used to analyze results.Results/Outcomes: A total of 125 DPT students from 2 programs completed the survey (48% response rate). The majority (72%) were female and the ages ranged from 20-35. Most of the students owned devices capable of viewing digital texts (98%). However, only 7% had ever purchased a digital textbook and 78% preferred to purchase printed texts. Students preferred digital textbooks for portability (83%), lower costs (72%), and easiest means to search subject matter (57%). Printed texts were thought to be easier to read (91%), less tiring on the eyes (95%), improved comprehension (86%), easier to remember material read (88%), easier to use to study for exams (83%), and more suited to some individual learning styles (86%). Ironically, half of the students preferred faculty provide digital copies of classroom presentations.Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Our Leadership Landscape: Perspectives from the Ground Level to 30,000 Feet: The findings from our study regarding DPT student preferences for use of digital textbooks mirror the findings of previous studies conducted in other healthcare professions. It is important for DPT programs to be familiar with innovative new educational strategies such as digital textbooks and electronic media. Academic institutions are considering alternatives for affordable textbooks and the textbook companies are promoting more options for digital platforms and textbooks. We anticipate the trend will impact DPT education and recommend further study.References: Eno A. Student perceptions of digital textbooks in a college nursing program. Theses from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. 2010. Keena, J. To E or not to E… A literature review comparing electronic and traditional print books in higher education. US Military Academy. 2016 Rockinson-Szapkiw A., Courduff J., Carter K., Bennett D. Electronic versus traditional print textbooks: a comparison study on the influence of university students' learning. Computers & Education. 2013;63: 259-266 Staiger, G. How E-books are used:a literature review of the E-book studies conducted from 2006-2011 . References & User Services Quarterly. 2012;51(4):355-365 Woody WD, Daniel DB, Baker CA. E-books or textbooks: students prefer textbooks. Comput Educ. 2010;55(3):945-948.