2014 Volume 10
The purpose of this study was to compare learning outcomes in a stress management course delivered in an online environment with those in the traditional, face-to-face (F2F) classroom. Learning outcomes assessed were exam scores, perceptions relating to awareness of and ability to handle stress, and self-reported decreases in heart rates following five relaxation exercises. Impact of age and ethnicity on learning outcomes was also examined. Online students (n = 56) listened to audio recordings of relaxation techniques, while F2F students (n = 63) received the same material via on-campus classroom delivery. Differences in exam scores for two out of three exams were not statistically significant. F2F students felt more aware of stress compared to online students, but there were no significant differences in perceived ability to manage stress. Age and ethnicity were not significant predictors of the preceding factors. No statistically significant differences were found in heart rate drops following relaxation techniques with the exception of autogenic training, which resulted in greater heart rate drops in online students. For this group of students, taking a stress management course online appeared to be just as effective, and possibly even more effective with learning relaxation techniques, when compared to a classroom-based approach.
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