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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

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Enhancing or Blending: How to Integrate Technology to Promote Active Learning

Paige McDonald (The George Washington University, USA)
Linda Cotton (George Washington University, USA)
Additional Authors
Laurie Lyons (George Washington University, USA)
Howard Straker (George Washington University, USA)
Bryan Walker (The George Washington University, USA)
Elizabeth Ruckert (The George Washington University, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 2:45pm
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 2
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 3

Participants develop an enhanced or blended course plan to promote active learning using a worksheet designed from lessons learned in health professions education

Extended Abstract

Context and Problem: Technology enhanced and blended learning models offer the promise of negotiating the challenges of increasing class sizes and the need for active learning strategies in Health Professions Education, particularly given limited program faculty and faculty resources. Moreover, these models can assist faculty in negotiating tension between growing amounts of content for entry-level professional practice and the need for learners to perform higher order thinking that represents what is required in future clinical practice. However, crafting an enhanced or blended model appropriate to pedagogical goals and learner expectations can prove challenging in disciplines where both students and faculty are heavily reliant upon traditional delivery models. Promoting technology enhanced and blended courses in Physician Assistant (PA) and Physical Therapy (PT) courses at The George Washington University has posed challenges and presented successes. Course redesigns were accomplished through partnerships between faculty and instructional designers. Lessons learned from re-designing these courses and research on curriculum design and educational theories (such as adult learning, active learning, and collaborative learning), suggest best practices for crafting enhanced or blended learning models aligned with program curricula, pedagogical goals, and students' preferences and needs. Identified best practices offer insight into how to use online technology to promote active learning in disciplines heavily reliant upon traditional models of learning design and delivery.

Approach: The workshop will begin with a presentation of enhanced and blended models used in PA and PT courses to promote active learning and how presenters designed their courses to achieve specific pedagogical goals: increased reflection, collaborative inquiry, knowledge application and knowledge generation. We will also review best practices derived from research on our models. Attendees will be able to visit one or more tables in which they can explore in more detail the technologies used to promote a given learning objective and course model. This selection will be based upon their own interests and the needs of their courses. After these mini-design sessions, attendees will use a worksheet based on incorporating our best practices to plan a redesign of their courses applying the strategies presented in the workshop. Participants will share their course designs in small groups to receive feedback regarding course structure, learner centered instruction, and potential challenges for implementation.

Workshop Objectives:

1)Discuss how enhanced and blended models are used to promote active learning in disciplines historically reliant upon traditional models of learning design and delivery
2)Review lessons learned from research on enhancing or blending in Health Professions courses including:
-How course placement in curricula influenced satisfaction with learning model selection
-How student expectations of learning process influenced satisfaction with enhanced and blended models
-How technology aligned with pedagogical goals
-How technology amount and placement reflected students' experience levels with using technology in learning
3)Review best practices on course design derived from lessons learned from the literature and in practice at The George Washington University
4)Apply best practices to develop a course model unique to participant's course

Audience Engagement: This session reviews different approaches to enhancing and blending in disciplines historically reliant upon traditional models of learning design and delivery at The George Washington University. Attendees will have the opportunity to apply our lessons learned to develop a model aligned with their pedagogical goals and anticipated learner needs and preferences. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss anticipated challenges to adoption of enhanced or blended models in their courses and disciplines.

Lead Presenter

Paige McDonald is the Director of Health Sciences Core Curriculum and Visiting Assistant Professor of Clinical Research and Learning at The George Washington University. She is currently working to promote blended learning and develop blended courses in Health Science disciplines. Paige's research interests include blended learning, adult learning, reflective practice, and course design for higher levels of learning.