Educational Research (Samples)

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Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Virtual Reality Simulation for Preclinical Local Anesthesia Dental Education 

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Introduction: Traditional manikin training has limitations that virtual reality can address. This study investigated the effectiveness of two part-task training simulation methods, a virtual reality (VR Sim) vs a plastic manikin (PM Sim), on learning outcomes for local anesthesia skills for second-year pre-clinical dental students.

Methods: In an experimental study, 58 second-year students were randomly assigned to one of two groups, VR Sim or PM Sim. Both groups completed the same pre-post survey. The VR Sim group practiced with a VR simulation, completed a built-in treatment test and a transfer test with a live person, and was evaluated by an expert teaching assistant (TA) with a rubric. The PM Sim group practiced with a plastic manikin and completed a treatment test on the same manikin evaluated by a TA, followed by the same transfer test with a live person and evaluated by a TA with a rubric.

Results: Covering knowledge and skills in the delivery of local anesthesia, mean final transfer test scores were statistically significantly higher for the PM Sim compared to VR Sim, F(1, 57) = 9.719, p = .003 with effect size, η2 p = 0.148. Scores on respective treatment tests were similar to final transfer test scores for each group suggesting differences were localised to the practice methods. Pre-survey results indicated participants had low prior experience with VR technology.

Conclusion: Whilst outcomes showed higher results for plastic manikin tutor training over the VR training method, they are complementary. As students practice more with the technology and the VR simulation they may improve further. Likewise, as the technology for haptics with VR improves beyond hand controllers so may the experience and learning of this skill for students.

An Immersive Tool for Social Work Students to Interact with Community Environments

Lanzieri, N., McAlpin, E., Shilane, D., & Samelson, H. (2021). Virtual reality: An immersive tool for social work students to interact with community environments. Clinical Social Work Journal. doi:10.1007/s10615-021-00803-1

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Research supports various benefits of using virtual reality (VR) within social work education. As a pilot study, this paper describes the impact of a 360 VR simulation designed to immerse students at a New York school of social work in a typical New York City neighborhood, with the goal of helping them learn about how its history, resources, demographics, and physical space impacts its inhabitants. This, in turn, is intended to support novice students in gaining familiarity with new social contexts and communities, and in connecting macro and micro nuances with practice. An overview of the role of VR in social work education is provided, followed by a description of the pilot 360 VR simulation developed by the authors of this paper, including the rationale for that development and the theoretical framework for its design. Using a mobile device and Google Daydream headset, students are guided through a panoramic urban environment by a pre-recorded voiceover that promotes reflective and analytical thinking as they observe the community through the lens of a social worker. Independent sample t-tests showed statistically significant changes in average scores between pre-and-post tests. Results of the pilot as indicated by pre- and post-survey of student perceptions and test of their knowledge are provided. Pedagogical and clinical practice implications for the 360 VR simulation are identified and discussed.

Web‐Based Patient Simulations of Preclinical Local Anesthesia and Non‐Surgical Extraction

McAlpin, E., Bergner, Y., & Levine, M. (2020). Summative Assessments of Web‐Based Patient Simulations of Preclinical Local Anesthesia and Non‐Surgical Extraction. European Journal of Dental Education.

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of web-based patient simulations, a whole-task simulation, in oral surgery education for second year pre-clinical dental students on learning outcomes regarding cognitive, psychomotor, and professional interpersonal skills for two topics: local anesthesia and non-surgical extractions. In 2018–19, using an experimental design in a live course, we evaluated two web-based patient simulations on student learning outcomes in an introductory course on oral maxillofacial surgery. The study was repeated across two semesters, Fall (N=109) and Spring (N=112), on two different topics, namely local anesthesia and extractions respectively. Learning outcomes were evaluated for each topic with two different assessment formats; a student-recorded role-play video project and a fifty-item multiple choice test. For both topics, local anesthesia and non-surgical extractions, students in the group, Web Sim, who used the web-based patient simulation over and above the online lesson material earned significantly higher scores in the role-play patient video project compared to the group, No Web Sim, who only used the online lesson materials. However, scores on the fifty-item multiple choice test did not differ significantly between groups.

A Multiyear Comparative Study on Flipping a Dental Hygiene Course 

Sefo, D., Birenz, S., McAlpin, E., Shilane, D. (2019).

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The flipped classroom model changes the learning dynamic from an instructor-centered design to a student-centered design whereby the student has more opportunities for practice with guidance and feedback from the instructor.  The present study is an investigation on the impact of employing the features of a flipped educational model compared with a traditional model on student course grades across several years. Few studies investigated the impact of the model on courses in dental hygiene covering the topic of clinical applications and psychomotor skill development. In 2014, faculty from New York University Dentistry, initiated a redesign to the Principles of Dental Hygiene I pre-clinic course to improve student learning as well as the administration of the course.  The redesign process was completed in 2016 for implementation in 2017. We compared outcomes on performance measures (e.g., grades for quizzes, exams, and competencies) as well as overall course grades for students who engaged in a traditional model of the course to students who engaged in a flipped model of the course. This study provides aggregated results comparing the traditional year (2014) to flipped years (2017-2019) as well as individual pairwise comparisons. Descriptive statistics revealed higher averages on most performance measures and course grades for students in the flipped model over consecutive years (2017-2019) compared to the 2014 traditional model. T-test results comparing the traditional baseline to aggregate flipped years showed statistical significance for overall Course Grade and near transfer tests (Quizzes and Instrumentation Competencies) but not far transfer tests (Instrumentation Assessments and Final Exams). Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) on Course Grade yielded significant variation among individual flipped versus the traditional year, F (3, 250) = 5.43, p=.001. Post hoc Tukey pairwise tests showed statistically significant course grade averages for individual flipped years 2017 and 2019 compared to 2014 but not for 2018 compared to 2014.  Post hoc Tukey pairwise test showed mixed results for specific performance measures aimed at assessing types of learning such as cognitive and psychomotor skills. The flipped method showed higher outcomes overall compared to the traditional method. To overcome limitations we compared results over consecutive years and will continue to monitor the outcomes to confirm these results. Future studies will aim to test new teaching and learning strategies on the specific performance measures aimed at types of learning in order to increase averages and provide more stable results.

Dynamic versus Static Presentation Formats, do they impact performance differently? Calculus I at New York University

McAlpin, E., Shilane, D., & Kalaycioglu, S. (2019). Dynamic Versus Static Presentation Formats, Do They Impact Performance Differently? Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching,  38(1), 49-76

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Video is often perceived as an effective choice to deliver demonstrations and lecture content but rarely assessed on the impact of student learning in mathematics in higher education. We compared weekly outcomes for students who accessed interactive video modules (DYNAMIC) demonstrating calculus level 1 topics to students who accessed the same content but presented in printed text and static image format (STATIC). Students in two sections of undergraduate course Calculus 1 (011) and (001) alternated each week pre-class work material presented in either interactive video module or text-image document and were assessed at the end of each week with a quiz. While there is a sectional difference in performance on quiz scores favoring Section 011 for specific weeks (4, 5, 11, 15) there is no overall difference between the sections on presentation formats. For weeks (3, 4, 5, 8, 11, and 15) there was a significant difference in Quiz Scores by Section while adjusting for diagnostic pre-measures but the sections benefiting from one format over another varied. The Partial Eta Squared value indicates the effect size and compared with Cohen’s guidelines (0.2-small effect, 0.5-moderate effect, 0.8-large effect). For section the effect size for all weeks is small. Despite differences in these specific weeks, overall the differences do not favor one presentation format over another. Given the low R2 values the results suggest that the presentation format did not impact delayed quiz scores in terms of weekly quiz performances by week or aggregated overall.

A Pedagogically Effective Use of an Audience Response System, TOPHAT™, to increase outcomes in Calculus I at New York University

McAlpin, E., Shilane, D., & Kalaycioglu, S. (2018). A Pedagogically Effective Use of an Audience Response System to Increase Outcomes in Mathematics. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 37(4), 1-32

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Large foundational courses delivered in lecture halls are dis- advantaged in eliciting participation from all students and maintaining engagement throughout the class session. We introduced a question-driven method facilitated by an audience response system, namely TopHat™, that allows the instructor to engage students in solving Calculus problems across the entire class as well as provide uniform immediate feedback to both the students, and the instructor as an opportunity to reflect and remediate. In Fall 2016, we compared outcomes for students who solved problems facilitated by TopHat™ in one section (041) to those who solved problems using paper in another section (046). Results from statistical tests found the section (041) using a question-driven method facilitated by TopHat™ was associated with statistically significantly improved performance measures resulting in a 4.98% increase in final grades amounting to a half a letter grade difference, compared to the control section (046) solving problems facilitated with paper. The improvement in performance was driven by statistically significant differences on the homework assignments and midterm examinations in the section (041) us- ing TopHat™. The TopHat™ section (041) also scored higher on the final exam although not statistically significant average compared to section (046). Greater performances scores contributed to statistically significant final grade averages.