The use of case-based learning (CBL) in the paramedic curriculum has been reported to be a valuable learning tool. Despite this, the use of CBL in distance or online education is not well researched, in particular, identifying the motivation for students to use CBL using a theoretical approach to eliciting and reviewing student paramedics’ beliefs.
This study aimed to explore the wide range of students' beliefs when it comes to CBL (elicitation of beliefs) and to develop a tool for assessing beliefs in the setting of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) (development of an assessment instrument).
A sequential exploratory study design was used to explore the methodological challenges associated with eliciting beliefs and forming reliable belief scales. The standard components of developing a questionnaire in the context of the theory of planned behaviour were undertaken. Finally, a cross-sectional non-experimental survey design was used to determine the capability of the TPB to predict students’ perceptions to CBL in their third year of study.
In order to learn about the factorial structure of the TPB questionnaire on CBL, a 40–50% response rate was required; this study had 12 of 25 students (48%) respond. Using CBL as a focus in paramedic education is subjectively comparable with previous studies in nursing, medicine and allied health professions. It was viewed positively as a linking exercise for consolidation of previously covered work in a paramedic bachelor degree but its true worth not only as a learning tool but for students studying via distance education requires further study and refinement as a model on its own.
This study was devoted to eliciting students' beliefs about CBL in their education and developing an instrument to assess students' beliefs in the context of the TPB. A pilot study utilising the constructs of the TPB is required to be undertaken in predicting students’ behaviour towards CBL within their degree.
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