TEACHING AN OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICINES COURSE WITH THE LEARNING ACTIVITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (LAMS): STUDENT PERSPECTIVES OF A SUPPLEMENTAL BLENDED LEARNING APPROACH
To optimise patient health care, pharmacists need to use critical thinking skills when applying knowledge to patients. In an over-the-counter medicines course, second year pharmacy students indicated that they wanted more practice with problem-based learning cases to apply their knowledge. Blended learning, supplementing face-to-face sessions with online learning tools (online lectures and LAMS modules), was identified as a suitable approach to meet this need.
To assess student satisfaction with a blended learning approach that utilised online learning tools and make comparisons with conventional teaching methods.
All 72 students enrolled in this course in semester 1, 2011 at Griffith University were invited to participate in this pilot study. Student perspectives were obtained using a blended learning survey, the course evaluation, and surveys within each LAMS module. The course evaluation asked students for feedback on the course for: engagement, quality satisfaction and effectiveness for learning, and these results were compared with the previous year’s; when conventional teaching methods were used. For the analysis of questions using Likert scales, positive responses were grouped, as were negative responses. Results from 2010 and 2011 were compared using Fisher’s exact test (SPSS v18) with a significance level of p<0.05.
The response rates were: 93% (55/59) for the blended learning survey, 88.9% (64/72) for the course evaluation and between 43%-88% (31-63/72) for the LAMS surveys. In the blended learning survey, 85.2% (46/54) of students agreed that the approach was beneficial to their learning. The face-to-face sessions were the most helpful aspect for 47% (25/53) of students, however, 98.2% (54/55) of students considered the LAMS modules beneficial to learning. Significant differences were identified in course engagement (p=0.038), quality satisfaction (p=0.017) and effectiveness for learning (p<0.001) when course evaluations for 2010 and 2011 were compared, with a greater proportion of positive responses in 2011. Feedback from individual LAMS modules showed that, on average, 92.4% (SD 6.58) of students believed that the module helped them meet the learning objectives.
This study demonstrated that a supplemental blended learning approach can positively influence student engagement and satisfaction, and help students meet learning objectives. Further investigation is needed to determine if this improves student performance in assessments.