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J Allied Health. 2002 Winter;31(4):247-51.

A comparison of distance education instructional methods in occupational therapy.

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  • 1Department of Occupational Therapy, Medical College of Georgia, MCG@CSU, Illges Hall, Room 106, 4225 University Avenue, Columbus, GA 31907, USA.


The progression of technology is rapidly bringing new opportunities to students and academic institutions, resulting in a need for additional information to determine the most effective strategies for teaching distance learners. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of three instructional strategies (two-way interactive video and audio, chat rooms, and independent learning) and student preferences regarding instructional methods in a mental health programming distance learning course. Precourse and postcourse surveys were completed by 22 occupational therapy students enrolled in the course. Effectiveness of the teaching methods was determined based on the results of students' examinations. The findings indicated that there were no statistically significant differences in student performance on multiple-choice examinations using the three instructional methods. Of students, 77% indicated a preference for two-way interactive video and audio instruction. To provide effective education via distance learning methods, faculty members need to structure assignments that facilitate interaction and communication among learners. As distance education becomes more commonplace, it is important to identify the methods of instruction that are the most effective in delivering essential course content and the methods that provide the atmosphere most conducive to learning.

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