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Research Article  |   July 1997
Student Perceptions of a Problem-Based Learning Course
Author Affiliations
  • Perri Stern, EdD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor and Assistant Chairperson, Department of Occupational Therapy, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15282. At the time of this study, she was Doctoral Student, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, and Adjunct Faculty Member, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Education
Research Article   |   July 1997
Student Perceptions of a Problem-Based Learning Course
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 1997, Vol. 51, 589-596. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.7.589
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 1997, Vol. 51, 589-596. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.7.589
Abstract

Within occupational therapy education, there has been increased attention to curricula and courses that emphasize problem solving, clinical reasoning, and synthesis of information across traditional discipline-specific boundaries. This article describes the development, implementation, and outcomes of a problem-based learning course entitled Selected Cases in Occupational Therapy. The course was designed to help students to integrate the various elements of a specific occupational therapy curriculum and to enhance their abilities to respond to an ever-changing health care environment.

An evaluation of the course by the first 11 students who completed it revealed both strengths and weaknesses. Students responded that the course enhanced their professional behavior, including interpersonal communication skills, team work, and follow-through with professional responsibilities; helped them to integrate the various elements of the total occupational therapy academic program; enhanced their clinical reasoning skills by providing a structure for thinking through clinical issues; and provided personal gain or benefit (i.e., students perceived the course to be a valuable, realistic, and motivating experience). The students also identified several specific course elements that contributed to its integrating function, including content, class session format, and students’ role. Identified course weaknesses included the methods of evaluating student performance and the format and content of specific cases.