Problem-Based Learning in Occupational Therapy Curriculum: Does It Affect Components of Metacognition?
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Melchert, Timothy P.
As a clinical supervisor of occupational therapy students, I was faced with the task of helping each student apply their "book knowledge" to a clinical setting. For many students, this was a difficult endeavor. Each student was intelligent, yet some had difficulty integrating knowledge and asking appropriate questions. I struggled with finding the best way to help them through the clinical process. Later, when I became an assistant professor at an occupational therapy program, I was faced with the problem of preparing the students for their clinical settings. The topic at many faculty meetings included the need to better prepare students to "clinically think" and utilize "clinical reasoning skills". This is when I first heard of problem-base learning (PBL). I attended numerous workshops and conferences where I learned how to facilitate PBL groups. The PBL facilitation was a natural role for me as I had spent twelve years leading groups as an occupational therapist. The occupational therapy students enjoyed PBL and I hoped that it would bridge the gap between school and clinical work. I was disappointed that little research had been conducted on PBL and metacognition. Review of PBL in the occupational therapy literature provides anecdotal and descriptive information. There is insufficient evidence to determine if PBL is the method of teaching that best promotes the type of thinking needed in occupational therapy. I designed this research study to measure the effects of PBL on the metacognition of occupational therapy students. Occupational therapy curriculums around the world are incorporating PBL in hopes of fostering increased metacognition. I believe it is imperative for research to be conducted to determine the effect of PBL on metacognition.