Physiology is a requisite course for many professional allied health programs and is a foundational science for learning pathophysiology, health assessment, and pharmacology. Given the demand for online learning in the health sciences, it is important to evaluate the efficacy of online and in-class teaching methods, especially as they are combined to form hybrid courses. The purpose of this study was to compare two hybrid physiology sections in which one section was offered mostly in-class (85% in-class), and the other section was offered mostly online (85% online). The two sections in 2 yr (year 1 and year 2) were compared in terms of knowledge of physiology measured in exam scores and pretest-posttest improvement, and in measures of student satisfaction with teaching. In year 1, there were some differences on individual exam scores between the two sections, but no significant differences in mean exam scores or in pretest-posttest improvements. However, in terms of student satisfaction, the mostly in-class students in year 1 rated the instructor significantly higher than did the mostly online students. Comparisons between in-class and online students in the year 2 cohort yielded data that showed that mean exam scores were not statistically different, but pre-post changes were significantly greater in the mostly online section; student satisfaction among mostly online students also improved significantly. Education researchers must investigate effective combinations of in-class and online methods for student learning outcomes, while maintaining the flexibility and convenience that online methods provide.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 The American Physiological Society.
- Blended learning
- Hybrid courses
- Physiology education