INTERVENTION IN THE LEARNING PROCESS OF THIRD YEAR PHYSICAL THERAPY STUDENTS
In the Physical Therapy Degree program, there are several subjects whose contents are related to the comprehension and performance of orthopaedic tests, which are used to evaluate abnormal conditions of the human body. Traditionally, these tests have been explained by the use of books, written descriptions or PowerPoint slides, and the students had to take notes in order to being able to practice and perform these tests at home, until they were examined. It has been demonstrated that the use of digital technologies such as blogs, websites and educational software used in tablets, computers, or cell phones, allow the student to have a better comprehension of the subjects and to take full advantage of the learning process.
This study was performed in 88 Physical Therapy students, who were divided in two groups: A (traditional teaching process) and B (digital teaching process). Both groups completed the subject Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy. Students in the group A were taught by the traditional process, receiving written papers with the explanation of different orthopaedic tests, and group B studied the same subject with the utilization of an Internet resource designed by the authors, with multimedia material (videos, audios and self-evaluation tools to determine their learning progression). They received three classes per week during two weeks, and after this period they were examined in order to find differences between groups. Two months later they were examined again, and the results were recollected and compared.
Group B had higher marks than group A in both exams. They were able to identify significatively faster the orthopaedic test shown, and to explain better the meaning of the test. Group A had lower marks, especially when they had to identify a test and to reproduce it.
Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that digital technologies improve the learning process, increasing the acquisition of concepts for long term.