Flipped Classroom Versus Traditional Teaching Methods Within Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy: A Case Report

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The flipped classroom method is a popular way to use technology to assist with the delivery of educational experiences. Yet there is insufficient information regarding student opinions or outcomes about the flipped classroom method within physical therapy. The purpose of this case report was to describe student opinions and outcomes of the flipped classroom teaching and traditional lecture/lab methods of teaching within musculoskeletal physical therapy. Thirty-six (36) first-year physical therapy students enrolled at a regional physical therapy program completed an anonymous internet-based survey regarding their impressions of traditional and flipped classroom teaching methods. Flipped classroom and traditional teaching methods were both used within the same musculoskeletal course. The survey was created to aid in planning subsequent courses and asked questions about student's preferred teaching method (flipped, traditional, or both equal) across a variety of categories. Student exams scores, using the same question bank, were compared to the year prior as a quantitative outcome measure. Twenty-nine (29) students (81%) completed the survey. Generally, students preferred the flipped classroom. Compared to the previous year, test scores for all content areas were similar (± 4%) except cervical spine which was improved (>10%). When asked outright, 28/29 students preferred the flipped teaching method. Student opinions indicate the flipped classroom is preferable to traditional methods yet objective outcomes appear similar. Physical therapy educators seeking ways to improve the student experience using technology in the classroom may consider utilizing the flipped classroom method.