Innovations in OT and PT Education National Summit

Document Type

Conference Proceeding




Students are continually searching for new resources to augment their learning. Online resources have become highly favored, especially by the millennial age group, for convenience, self-paced content, and versatility across learning styles. It has been reported that e-learning platforms are as effective as traditional face-to-face instruction, but may be best utilized when used as an adjunctive resource for teaching psychomotor skills.1,2 In a study about student confidence, results showed an increase in self-efficacy following the use of online learning materials.3 Blended learning, the next generation of web-based education, mixes advances in technology with creative faculty to fuse effective delivery methods that promote student engagement and learning.

Re-designing all or portions of a course with a fresh prospective can re-energize faculty and render content more engaging for the learner but development can be hampered by limited time and resources. Our academic health science center launched a strategic initiative in 2013 for interprofessional student and faculty teams to build interactive e-learning modules. This presentation will focus on the significant role of medical and allied health science students in the development of interactive curricular elements, which can save faculty time and resources while enhancing student learning. Through this program, a large interprofessional network of collaborators with varying skill sets was created. The network includes nearly 100 students and faculty members from medical and allied health professions that have created over 50 e-learning projects. The greatest benefits of engaging student-faculty teams as e-learning developers have been the trust and cohesion, resource sharing and brokering of information consistent with the social capital theory. In addition, the high quality of e-modules resulting from the creative use of media-rich content in student designs increased peer engagement. With students as e-learning collaborators, faculty as content experts, and instructional design expertise we increased the production of curricular-based e-learning modules within a budget-friendly model while reducing faculty time required for development. More importantly, many additional modules have been created by teams outside of the formal institutional mechanism, suggesting the widespread adoption of this teaching modality in an expanding network.

Regardless of educational trends, faculty who implement a novel learning tool should be aware of the learner’s cognitive load, or working memory, which has a limited capacity. Each module is evaluated using a checklist to examine accessibility and educational design. There are content development strategies using visual and auditory channels to maximize learner efficiency and minimize distractions for long-term memory development.4

The presenters will share an overview of this initiative and practical experience. We will a) describe the resultant network structure and composition of faculty, students and staff involved; b) provide a step-by-step timeline of how the e-learning modules went from a sketch and brainstormed idea to a tangible and useful product and the important role of instructional designers and an interprofessional peer-faculty team, c) share resources used for creation, and d) demonstrate exemplars on topics such as joint examination, the cardiopulmonary system, International Classification of Functioning, scanning a hospital room, and reviewing a medical chart.