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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

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

Abstract

ALDRICH, Rebecca M.. Course redesign to promote local and global experiential learning about human occupation: Description and evaluation of a pilot effort. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2015, vol.45, n.1, pp.56-62. ISSN 2310-3833.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2310-3833/2015/v45no1a10.

INTRODUCTION: Globalisation heightens the need for diverse learning experiences regarding human occupation. This article describes a two-phase redesign of an undergraduate occupational science course that generated community outings in the United States (U.S.) and synchronous online interactions between U.S. and Swedish students. Via experiential learning opportunities, the course redesign aimed to enhance students' understanding of occupational science and occupational therapy concepts as well as how such concepts are taken up across global contexts. METHOD: 96 undergraduate U.S. occupational science students participated in community outings, and 52 of those students also participated in synchronous online interactions with 35 undergraduate Swedish occupational therapy student peers. U.S. students provided feedback about the community outings and synchronous online interactions via written course evaluations and reflections. RESULTS: U.S. students perceived community outings and synchronous online interactions as positive learning opportunities but also suggested possible improvements which have been implemented in subsequent iterations of the course. CONCLUSIONS: When accompanied by structured reflective opportunities, local and global experiential learning can positively impact students. It is important to consider how experiential learning fits within course objectives, as well as how technology enables or inhibits experiential learning across local and global contexts.

Keywords : Experiential learning; learning spaces; synchronous online education; occupational science; occupational therapy.

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