I am very supportive of this development but guess what- more multple choice exams questions this time designed to measure thinking and decision making instead of remembering definitions and locations of anatomy and the like. There are different types of multiple choice questions. Level 1 questions are typically based on remembering what a term is or where something is. Level 2 questions attempt to measure if a person actually understands what they remember and can put some pieces together. Most of the questions I have been writing today are level 2 type. An example of this kind of question might look like this-
A massage therapist is working with a client that is anxious at night and it interferes with sleep. Which of the following neurotransmitters could be involved?
You have to remember the definitions of all the words first and then you have to understand the relationship of the client symptom to the neurotransmitter. Well this is easy because norephinephrine is the only neurotransmitter on the list but I had to make sure that it had some affect on the sleep wake cycle become I could use it for a wrong answer.
The Advanced Practice Exam is being developed with the next level questions. Level 3 questions are -figure it out and choose the best answer- questions. Those are really hard to write but this type of multiple choice question really can measure the ability to used critical thinking skills necessary in advance massage practice. Advanced does not necessary mean hard and obscure stuff to remember. Advanced means you can take the information provided by a client or a test question and figure out and justify what is the best way to approach the situation. This is exciting. That little baby woodpecker was a novice. He/she(hard to tell when babies) could fly but not very well, knew the feeder was on the porch but was facing the wrong way and when finially finding the feeder the mommy and daddy birds had to show how to get the suet out. This happens every year at this suet feeder. I am not sure if it is the same nesting pair but the parents line the babies up and show them how to eat from the suet feeder. What a mess they make and these is a lot of waste until the inexperience birds get better with practice. Makes me thinks of new graduates from massage school. Not everything can be taught in online delivery but any topic I would lecture or use a powerpoint or where the student was listening instead of doing can be delivered with technology. I responded to the COMTA survey and for the most part I agreed. Where I did not agree it was because the standards appeared too rigid in an attempt to make sure that the online education was done "right". Teaching is not a level 1 or 2 process. All level three multiple choice questions assume that the text taking has been able to answer the Level 1 and level 2 questions. If you cannon remember or understand you can't figure it out. The standards COMTA is proposing cover the foundational information but just a couple of them would not allow for the development of level three expertise. I have implemented the online anatomy and physiology course that accompanies Mosby's Essential Sciences for Therapeutic Massage. The school is three years into it now and just like the baby woodpeckers we got much better with practice. We have to make room for practice however to become Advanced. And this ends my wandering around the topics. I willl write five more questions and the reward myself with a wander around the garden.