Student Preference and Perceptions of Asynchronous Online Activities for First Year Allied Health Physiology Blended Block Units
Foundational knowledge in Anatomy and Physiology is integral to all health courses, however, first year students often find the volume and complexity of the concepts challenging (Vitali et al., 2020). Furthermore, our typical demographic student profile comes from a low socioeconomic status with a limited Science background. To help students with their study, health science education literature supports the importance of self-directed study including the use of technology-enhanced learning in blended approaches to learning (Gagnon et al., 2013; Geng et al., 2019). In 2018, Victoria University (VU) launched the VU Block model (where students study only one unit at a time for 4 weeks, for all first year units, (McCluskey et al., 2019). Our design included a blended approach, combining pre and post class technology-enhanced online learning activities and resources supported by face-to-face workshops involving small team based guided inquiry learning with no lectures. Within a block, blended learning environment, little is known about which online learning activities and resources students prefer and engage with. We utilised surveys, student grades and learning analytics to investigate student outcomes including preference for and participation in learning activities. Students
preferred and engaged the most with the asynchronous online formative quizzes and H5P learning interactives. Both the number of H5P’s and quizzes utilised by students were significant (p=.001, p=.001) in predicting final grade (F(2,1245) = 102.19, R2 =.141, p=<.001). Student satisfaction data via the institutional unit evaluation survey was high for our traditional 12- week blended design and reduced for the intensive block mode setting. We suggest that providing students with a variety of asynchronous online learning activities and resources supported the blended design for block.
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