Active Learning Improves Student Performance in a Respiratory Physiology Lab

Alexander Wolf, Carlos Liachovitzky, Abass Abdullahi


This study assessed the effectiveness of the introduction of active learning exercises into the anatomy and physiologycurriculum in a community college setting. Specifically, the incorporation of a spirometry-based respiratoryphysiology lab resulted in improved student performance in two concepts (respiratory volumes and the hallmarks ofrespiratory diseases) but not a third (the relationship between volume, pressure and airflow). Anonymous post-labsurveys indicated that the modification increased student’s interest in the subject and encouraged interactive learningas well as the use of technology in the classroom. However, although test sections outperformed control sections inthe lab midterm, the difference was statistically insignificant, presumably due to the fact that respiratory conceptsonly accounted for less than 20% of the exam.

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Copyright (c) 2014 Alexander Wolf, Carlos Liachovitzky, Abass Abdullahi

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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