Date of Award

Fall 1999

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Grant L Cioffi


The purposes of the study were first to identify the frequency and the degree to which athletic training educators employed Problem Based Learning (PBL), its variants, and traditional methods in their teaching; and second to solicit educators' judgments of the quality of educational outcomes in their coursework. A survey instrument was distributed to a random sample of 101 CAAHEP accredited curriculum athletic training educators. Eighty-three subjects returned the instrument, yielding a response rate of 82%. The survey contained 20 closed-response items and 3 open-response items, and was divided into three sections highlighting demographic information, teaching methods, and educational outcomes. The teaching method section was subdivided into PBL method items and traditional teaching method items. These groups of items were selected both conceptually and by factor analysis. Respondents were placed into a PBL group or a Non-PBL group according to their scores on the teaching method items. Descriptive statistics were generated for all of the responses. Demographic background and educational outcome judgements were compared between the PBL and the Non-PBL groups using non-parametric statistics. The results revealed that although only a small number of athletic training educators are using all of the PBL methods identified in the survey, the majority of athletic training educators are using one or more elements of PBL during a typical week of teaching. The findings also demonstrated that athletic training educators are employing other innovative methods in addition to PBL to complement or replace traditional teaching methods. Overall, all athletic training educators, both those that use PBL and those that use traditional teaching methods, have favorable opinions and attitudes toward the effectiveness of their methods. There was found, however, a significant difference (p < .03) between the distribution of scores on outcome items of the PBL faculty and Non-PBL faculty, suggesting that PBL faculty have more favorable opinions and attitudes toward their teaching method than the Non-PBL faculty. In conclusion, PBL is prevalent in athletic training education and faculty who report using several important aspects of PBL also report greater satisfaction with their students' learning outcomes.