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Open Access Research article

Instructional multimedia: An investigation of student and instructor attitudes and student study behavior

A Russell Smith1*, Cathy Cavanaugh2 and W Allen Moore1

Author Affiliations

1 Lynchburg College, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Lynchburg, Virginia 24501, USA

2 University of Florida, School of Teaching and Learning, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:38  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-38

Published: 21 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Educators in allied health and medical education programs utilize instructional multimedia to facilitate psychomotor skill acquisition in students. This study examines the effects of instructional multimedia on student and instructor attitudes and student study behavior.

Methods

Subjects consisted of 45 student physical therapists from two universities. Two skill sets were taught during the course of the study. Skill set one consisted of knee examination techniques and skill set two consisted of ankle/foot examination techniques. For each skill set, subjects were randomly assigned to either a control group or an experimental group. The control group was taught with live demonstration of the examination skills, while the experimental group was taught using multimedia. A cross-over design was utilized so that subjects in the control group for skill set one served as the experimental group for skill set two, and vice versa. During the last week of the study, students and instructors completed written questionnaires to assess attitude toward teaching methods, and students answered questions regarding study behavior.

Results

There were no differences between the two instructional groups in attitudes, but students in the experimental group for skill set two reported greater study time alone compared to other groups.

Conclusions

Multimedia provides an efficient method to teach psychomotor skills to students entering the health professions. Both students and instructors identified advantages and disadvantages for both instructional techniques. Reponses relative to instructional multimedia emphasized efficiency, processing level, autonomy, and detail of instruction compared to live presentation. Students and instructors identified conflicting views of instructional detail and control of the content.