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Peer assisted learning in athletic training education: prevalence, utilization, effectiveness, and potential benefits




Odell, Christine Marie, author
Timpson, William M., advisor
Kennedy, Catherine A., advisor
Gloeckner, Gene William, 1950-, committee member
Cole, Dennis W., committee member

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Because athletic training education has been just recently standardized and accredited in comparison to other allied health care education programs, this mixed method study was designed to answer multiple research questions regarding the use of formalized peer assisted learning (PAL) in athletic training education. The research questions concentrated on: (a) the prevalence of formalized PAL in athletic training education, (b) how athletic training education program (ATEP) directors view formalized PAL in regard to familiarity, comfort using formalized PAL and effectiveness of PAL, (c) Which ATEP directors utilize PAL in relation to amount of time as an ATEP director, amount of pedagogical training and amount of time teaching at the college/university level, (d) what are the reasons that formalized PAL is used and is not used, (e) in what athletic training educational settings is formalized PAL utilized and finally, (f) will athletic training students (ATSs) who participate in a formalized PAL program have greater success in passing the Board of Certification national exam for certifying athletic trainers. To answer the questions the researcher designed an original survey instrument, pilot tested the instrument then invited all (343) directors from accredited ATEPs to participate in the on line survey via SurveyMonkey®. Forty-six ATEP directors chose to participate in the on line survey. The researcher used SPSS Graduate Pack™ 16.0 for Mac® to analyze the data and calculate the appropriate descriptive statistics and independent samples t-tests. Following the analysis of the quantitative survey data, the researcher conducted follow-up interviews with four ATEP directors in order to gather qualitative data to further explain why formalized PAL is or is not utilized in athletic training education. The findings from this study in regard to the independent samples t-tests were statistically insignificant. When attempting to see if there was a relationship between an ATSs participation in a formalized PAL program and their subsequent success in passing the BOC exam for entry-level athletic trainers, the researcher found that 11 of the 46 survey participants chose not to divulge their students' first time passing rate. Moreover, the same 11 survey participants also reported not utilizing formalized PAL. Hence, even though the findings were calculated as statistically insignificant, the researcher does feel these findings were somewhat inconclusive. Additionally the researcher did not find a significant relationship between the amount of time an ATEP director had taught at the college/university level and their use of formalized PAL. Over the span of the 2005-06 through the 2008-09 academic years, the use of formalized PAL in ATEPs did increase slightly, however informal PAL was still the most frequent response in regard to the use of any type of PAL utilized. Overall, 45.7% of the survey participants reported feeling that PAL was an effective teaching strategy and 10.9% of the survey participants felt PAL was a very effective teaching strategy. After conducting the follow-up interviews, the researcher found that of the four interviewees, three were familiar with the concept of PAL, though none of them had a formalized program within their respective curriculums. One interviewee was interested in learning more about using PAL as a teaching technique. The collective findings of this study provide a foundation for additional research to determine what teaching techniques ATEP directors are utilizing and what teaching strategies are proving to be most beneficial to ATSs in regard to passing the rigorous BOC exam on the first attempt. Furthermore, the researcher of this study feels that this study also helped emphasize the need for all athletic trainers to be adequately trained to teach regardless of their practice setting.


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Peer group tutoring of students -- Sports -- Effectiveness
Mentoring in education -- Sports -- Effectiveness
Physical education and training -- Evaluation
Physical education and training -- Study and teaching


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