Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Physical Therapy


Dr. Pamela Houghton


To determine if online learning enriches the clinical reasoning (CR) skills of advanced practice physical therapists (PTs). CR was measured in 26 PTs enrolled in a one year, course-based, masters program delivered using distributed learning including computer-based online courses (UWO). Outcomes were compared to IB PTs who sought the same credentials (FCAMPT) via a traditional face-to-face continuing education program. Bloom's Taxonomy Scale (BTS) was developed and used to evaluate CR in UWO students during two online discussion forums (ODF). The highest BTS score was in a medium learning level (application) and few students exhibited higher levels of learning (analysis & synthesis). A change in BTS scores was not detected between 1st and 2ndterms; however UWO students had a significant improvement in critical thinking dispositions (CCTDI) by the end of the program. There was no significant difference in CCTDI scores or case history exam marks between students receiving training via UWO or traditional methods. Preliminary results obtained from this small sample supports the conclusion that students in the online masters program exhibited medium levels of learning, improved critical thinking dispositions, and equally good clinical reasoning skills as a group of students trained using a traditional face-to-face format.



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