Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New Papers from Biomed Central

Khoiriyah U, Roberts C, Jorm C, Ven der Vleuten CPM. Enhancing students’ learning in problem based learning: validation of a self-assessment scale for active learning and critical thinking. BMC Med Educ 2015, 15:140  doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0422-2

Background: Problem based learning (PBL) is a powerful learning activity but fidelity to intended models may slip and student engagement wane, negatively impacting learning processes, and outcomes. One potential solution to solve this degradation is by encouraging self-assessment in the PBL tutorial. Self-assessment is a central component of the self-regulation of student learning behaviours. There are few measures to investigate self-assessment relevant to PBL processes. We developed a Self-assessment Scale on Active Learning and Critical Thinking (SSACT) to address this gap. We wished to demonstrated evidence of its validity in the context of PBL by exploring its internal structure.

Methods: We used a mixed methods approach to scale development. We developed scale items from a qualitative investigation, literature review, and consideration of previous existing tools used for study of the PBL process. Expert review panels evaluated its content; a process of validation subsequently reduced the pool of items. We used structural equation modelling to undertake a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the SSACT and coefficient alpha.
Results: The 14 item SSACT consisted of two domains “active learning” and “critical thinking.” The factorial validity of SSACT was evidenced by all items loading significantly on their expected factors, a good model fit for the data, and good stability across two independent samples. Each subscale had good internal reliability (>0.8) and strongly correlated with each other.

Conclusions: The SSACT has sufficient evidence of its validity to support its use in the PBL process to encourage students to self-assess. The implementation of the SSACT may assist students to improve the quality of their learning in achieving PBL goals such as critical thinking and self-directed learning.

Tzeng DS, Wu YC, Hsu JY. Latent variable modeling and its implications for institutional review board review: variables that delay the reviewing process. BMC Med Ethics 2015, 16:57  doi:10.1186/s12910-015-0050-8

Background: To investigate the factors related to approval after review by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), the structure equation model was used to analyze the latent variables ‘investigators’, ‘vulnerability’ and ‘review process’ for 221 proposals submitted to our IRB.

Methods: The vulnerability factor included vulnerable cases, and studies that involved drug tests and genetic analyses. The principal investigator (PI) factor included the license level of the PI and whether they belonged to our institution. The review factor included administration time, total review time, and revision frequency. The revision frequency and total review time influenced the efficiency of review.
Results: The latent variable of reviewing was the most important factor mediating the PIs and vulnerability to IRB review approval. The local PIs moderated with genetic study and revision frequency had an impact on the review process and mediated non-approval.

Conclusions: Better guidance of the investigators and reviewers might improve the efficiency with which IRBs function.

Chapman PD, Stomski NJ, Losco B, Walker BF. The simulated early learning of cervical spine manipulation technique utilising mannequins. Chiropr Man Ther 2015, 23:23  doi:10.1186/s12998-015-0067-6

Background: Trivial pain or minor soreness commonly follows neck manipulation and has been estimated at one in three treatments. In addition, rare catastrophic events can occur. Some of these incidents have been ascribed to poor technique where the neck is rotated too far. The aims of this study were to design an instrument to measure competency of neck manipulation in beginning students when using a simulation mannequin, and then examine the suitability of using a simulation mannequin to teach the early psychomotor skills for neck chiropractic manipulative therapy.
Methods: We developed an initial set of questionnaire items and then used an expert panel to assess an instrument for neck manipulation competency among chiropractic students. The study sample comprised all 41 fourth year 2014 chiropractic students at Murdoch University. Students were randomly allocated into either a usual learning or mannequin group. All participants crossed over to undertake the alternative learning method after four weeks. A chi-square test was used to examine differences between groups in the proportion of students achieving an overall pass mark at baseline, four weeks, and eight weeks.

Results: This study was conducted between January and March 2014. We successfully developed an instrument of measurement to assess neck manipulation competency in chiropractic students. We then randomised 41 participants to first undertake either “usual learning” (n = 19) or “mannequin learning” (n = 22) for early neck manipulation training. There were no significant differences between groups in the overall pass rate at baseline (χ 2  = 0.10, p = 0.75), four weeks (χ 2  = 0.40, p = 0.53), and eight weeks (χ 2  = 0.07, p = 0.79).
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the use of a mannequin does not affect the manipulation competency grades of early learning students at short term follow up. Our findings have potentially important safety implications as the results indicate that students could initially gain competence in neck manipulation by using mannequins before proceeding to perform neck manipulation on each other.

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