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Embracing the growth mindset theory and social learning theory to positively impact motivation and engagement in online learners

     Online education refers to a learning process in which at least 80% of the course content is delivered via an online learning platform (Yeboah, Dogbey, & Smith, 2016). Hybrid education is a curriculum that has at least 50% of their delivery online. Increasingly, OT entry level programs are being delivered using hybrid curriculum. In addition, post-professional OT programs are primarily online in education delivery. According to the literature, enrollments in online education have grown rapidly in the past decade throughout postsecondary education (Jaggars, 2014). This growth offers learners opportunities, but also presents challenges for learners enrolled in online courses. For instance, despite the rapid growth in enrollment for online distance education courses, learner persistence and academic performance in online courses is often much lower than in traditional non-online courses (Croxton, 2014). Furthermore, according to Kauffman (2015), attrition rates remain high for online education courses as compared to traditional non-online distance education courses. Online education research studies have identified internal factors that lead to the underperformance for online learners (Croxton, 2014). These internal factors include lack of motivation, challenges with self-determination, and issues with not experiencing online engagement (Croxton, 2014). To this end, online college students who experience the least amount of motivation and engagement are said to be at a greater risk of dropping out (Pruett & Absher, 2015). It is of interest to identify ways the faculty can have an essential role in improving the motivation and engagement of online learners moving forward.

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Three important pathways towards telehealth integration: a closer look

Integration of telehealth services occurs within several notable pathways. These pathways include academia, clinical practice, and mHealth, which included Connected Health Devices (CHDs) or Wearable Digital Devices (WDDs). Virtual pathways interconnect and add value to the healthcare industry in diverse and useful ways. Conversely, they do not work well when intentional integration is not taken seriously. The academic environment is a good place for telehealth instruction, as this exposes future providers to value-based virtual care and expands access to their beneficiaries (Dy Aungst & Patel, 2020; Muntz et al., 2021). There are many health care professions that are purposefully incorporating telehealth instruction within their curricula (Dy Aungst & Patel, 2020; Muntz et al., 2021). This mindful integration was spurred from the need to embed instruction on telehealth within traditional practice models (Muntz et al., 2021). Similarly, occupational therapy (OT) programs were offered to instruct students on telehealth through ACOTE standard B.4.15 which was authorized in the summer of 2020 (Patterson et al., 2021). However, this educational standard does not explicitly outline how telehealth may be leveraged by academicians to enhance greater adoption. (Hui et al., 2021; Patterson et al., 2021). Telehealth’s integration within the academic setting is essential as it exposes occupational therapy students to didactic instruction, hands-on learning, and virtual simulation experiences that foster greater interoperability within the clinical arena (Posey et al., 2020).

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