Using distance education in teaching orthotic fabrication to occupational therapy students
Occupational therapy (OT) education requires educators to provide students with entry level skills in orthotic fabrication. These skills have been taught in a traditional face-to-face classroom and labs. The concept of distance education (DE) has evolved over the years with the advancement of the technology. DE started with print media, radio broadcasting, and progressed to utilizing video conferencing. Currently DE relies heavily on using the internet to deliver quality, cost-effective and convenient education. DE Literature focused on teaching basic knowledge, however, no research was found that compared DE to traditional education in teaching skills or the application of knowledge. This pilot study investigated the effectiveness of using DE pedagogy in teaching OT students the skills of splint making, and to compare effectiveness of DE to that of traditional classroom. Forty OT students participated in the study, they self-selected to be in the experimental, or control group. The experimental group received training on splint making via the Blackboard?, while the control group received similar training the traditional way. The quality of splints was evaluated; Mann-Whitney concluded that the difference between the means of the two groups was no significant, indicating that the quality of the splints were equivalent.