Efficacy of an online problem-based learning course in occupational therapy education
Metadata[+] Show full item record
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching method created in the 1960's that encourages students to improve their critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills through case studies, group work, discussions with faculty facilitation, and no lecture component. PBL is designed to bridge the gap between the classroom and the professional field, while encouraging active rather than passive learning. Traditionally, whether a single course or an entire curriculum, PBL is done within the classroom, but, as with all higher education, is more recently being moved to an online format. The efficacy of traditional PBL courses is well supported through numerous studies and reviews, but few studies have been done regarding online PBL courses. Those studies which have been done concerning online PBL courses have primarily focused on the experience, consequently leading to little objective evidence regarding improved critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. The purpose of this research study is to examine the efficacy of a single online PBL course within an otherwise lecture-based occupational therapy curriculum. Using two discipline-specific repeated-measure assessments, our study will examine the clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills of 53 students in the occupational therapy program at the University of Missouri. Our study will add to the current literature concerning the effectiveness of online PBL courses, so that our institution, as well as others, may learn if online PBL courses achieve their purpose and if additional modifications should be made.