Nursing students' achievement using scaffolding case studies in the blended learning environment
The current nursing shortage has significantly impacted the nation’s health-care system and nursing education. Retention, matriculation, and licensure of nursing students are critical to ameliorate the growing nursing shortage. With the growing concern of the nursing shortage and decreasing student retention, nursing educators need to implement and evaluate various learning strategies and learning environments. Benner, Sutphen, Leonard, and Day (2010, p. 14) charged that “[c]lassroom teachers must step out from behind the screen full of slides and engage students in clinic-like learning experiences that ask them to learn to use knowledge and practice thinking in changing situations, always for good of the patient.” One way to achieve this goal is for teachers to incorporate active learning in their classrooms. Active learning encourages the students to construct their own knowledge (Anthony, 1996) and to take responsibility for their own learning (Fahlberg, Rice, Muehrer, & Brey, 2014). The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to explore the effectiveness of scaffolding case studies in the blended learning environment versus traditional pedagogy on nursing student academic achievement. Forty-three nursing students enrolled in a fundamentals nursing course (first clinical course) received case studies for three of their six modules over the semester. Also, 54 students from the previous semester did not receive any case studies and served as the control group. When comparing all the grades for all six module tests among the experimental group, no significant difference was found. However, when comparing the experimental group with the control group, the experimental group significantly improved in the first test that implemented the case study. Although not all test scores were significantly different, the experimental group consistently scored higher than the control group on all the case study modules. These results could indicate improved academic achievement, but more research is needed in this area before determining that this learning strategy should or should not be used for nursing education.