Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


This paper explores the effectiveness of peer assisted learning on developing critical thinking skills in an occupational therapy graduate course. The use of peer teaching strategies, including a Fishbowl discussion and case-based problem solving, were compared to a faculty-led lecture approach to determine which approach best prepared student critical thinking. Participants included 115 first year graduate occupational therapy students. No statistically significant differences were noted in student ability to express knowledge, comprehension, and application of information. However, statistically significant differences were noted on graduate student ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate using newly learned information when peer teaching strategies were used in the classroom. Therefore, the authors concluded peer assisted learning approaches may support better integration of knowledge at higher levels of Bloom’s knowledge for critical thinking than traditional faculty-led teaching approaches.


Stephanie L. de Sam Lazaro, OTD, OTR/L is Assistant Professor and Director of the OTD programs at St. Catherine University. Her teaching experiences include face-to-face, hybrid, and online formats. She is interested in approaches that support engagement and application of theoretical knowledge to the OT process for pediatric populations.

Bonnie R. W. Riley, OTD, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor at St. Catherine University. Her experiences teaching include hybrid and online formats at the graduate and undergraduate level. As an occupational therapy instructor, she is interested in innovative approaches for engaging students and studying best practices in occupational therapy education.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.