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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


JACOBS, Lizelle. The other side of the coin: OT students' perceptions of problem-based learning. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2014, vol.44, n.1, pp.62-67. ISSN 2310-3833.

BACKGROUND: Problem-based learning (PBL) was introduced into the Occupational Therapy (OT) curriculum at the University of Witwatersrand in 1993 as a hybrid course which included PBL as well as traditional teaching methods. There is a collective opinion in the department, that PBL is the best teaching method if OT students are to become independent, critical practitioners. But how do the students really feel about PBL? AIM: The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year occupational therapy students of PBL. This study formed the qualitative part of a larger study, which was mainly quantitative, descriptive and longitudinal in design. METHODOLOGY: Secondary analysis was performed on the occupational therapy departmental records collected during 2011 and 2012 for 290 students. This study focussed on the qualitative analysis of data from two open-ended questions. Five categories were derived from the quantitative part of the larger study and included Group Work, Facilitator, Learning Objectives, Self-directed Learning and The OT Course. These were used as categories and the data were analysed according to a categorisation matrix. RESULTS: The qualitative analysis of the results identified that students had mixed feelings about PBL as a teaching and learning method. In this study students felt that group work, self-directed learning and fieldwork contributed to their learning while objectives, feedback and workload were aspects of PBL students felt needed to be changed as these impeded their learning.

Keywords : Group work; Facilitator; Self-directed leaning; Adult learning; Learning styles; Learning objectives.

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