The School of Health Sciences is an ideal context to research the effects of PBL long term, since it has been used in the (previous) School of Health Professions for 15 years. This study examines the question of whether Problem-based learning (PBL) provides occupational therapy and physiotherapy graduates with a suitably effective long-term skills-set for use in a practice setting. It used focus groups of graduates from the PBL Occupational Therapy course over the past five years and elicits their views on the skills they have obtained from learning through PBL and how these skills, or a lack of them, have affected their practice.
A second aspect of the research is to investigate the experiences of employers of graduates from the PBL programmes.
A lot of effort goes into the design and implementation of PBL programmes with the aim of enhancing student learning, and in particular, and we gain a lot of anecdotal evidence, and reports from practice educators who take PBL students, that PBL graduates and students are independent learners and excellent team players. These findings are also reported internationally within PBL research, to which this project relates. However, most previous research has been undertaken in medical education.
This study has an impact on employers through demonstrating the practice-focus aims of PBL. The positive findings are leading to more widespread implementation of PBL within workplaces.
Professor Gaynor Sadlo
Dr Lee Price
Dr Channine Clarke
Dr Raija Kuisma
The results were presented at the world congress of occupational therapists in Sydney in 2004, and a second follow up stage of the study begins in 2014.