Comparison of Problem Based Learning and Traditional Lecture Instruction on Critical Thinking, Knowledge, and Application of Strength and Conditioning

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heather L. Sanderson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Randy Schmitz

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to compare the effects of problem based learning (PBL) and traditional lecture instruction (TI) courses on critical thinking, knowledge and application of strength and conditioning throughout a semester long collegiate undergraduate course. Twenty undergraduate exercise and sport science students enrolled in either a TI course (n=12) or a PBL course (n=8). The results revealed no statistically significant difference for critical thinking development using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST). Both PBL and TI resulted in improvement on National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) certification practice exam knowledge questions pretest to posttest as well as for the pretest to posttest NSCA-CSCS certification practice exam application questions. Student course evaluations revealed student perceptions of PBL in which students found textbook usage, the use of PBL problems, and communication of strength and conditioning concepts with the group as the most beneficial PBL course components to learning strength and conditioning with peers as teachers as the least beneficial. PBL students also noted feelings of frustration, culture shock, and lack of time in learning course material. All PBL students were graduating seniors with no prior PBL experience. The instructor recorded observed critical thinking, application of knowledge, and positive and negative comments and class interactions in field notes. Students did not improve critical thinking, knowledge, and application in strength and conditioning better with PBL than TI. It is important to note that PBL scores were not statistically less than TI suggesting that PBL was an equally effective pedagogical method. Findings from the field notes suggest critical thinking and applying knowledge was observed during PBL classroom discussion and instructor interactions with individual students. Students' perceptions revealed students did learn to become more independent learners and problem solvers.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Application of knowledge, Critical thinking, Problem based learning, Strength and conditioning
Problem-based learning $x Evaluation.
Critical thinking.
Physical education and training $x Study and teaching (Higher).

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