Evaluation of an On-Campus Program Bridging the Theory-Practice Gap in Occupational Therapy Education: Student Perspective
Document Type (Journals)
The transfer of learning from an academic setting to fieldwork and vice versa is not straightforward and occupational therapy students often report this as challenging. In acknowledgement of this, the fieldwork placement learning structure within the Bachelor and Master occupational therapy entry-level programs at a higher education institute was redesigned to enhance links between taught content at university and fieldwork placement. The aim of this study was to explore occupational therapy students’ perspectives of this new educational initiative. The students attended university for a set number of days over the course of their first and second fieldwork placements. The sessions were focused on assisting students to make connections between theory taught at university to the practice setting and allow time for reflection and consolidation of learning. One hundred and fifteen occupational therapy students completed an anonymized online questionnaire to evaluate their experiences consisting of open and closed questions. Qualitative data was analyzed using thematic analysis and Likert Scale data was analyzed descriptively. Three key themes were identified from the qualitative information: reflection, support, and understanding and knowledge. The students reported the sessions provided time for reflection, which enabled them to link theory to practice more clearly and peer support was highly regarded. The introduction of university days during fieldwork education was overall positively received by students. This educational approach helped students to better understand theory and promoted reflection on practice experiences. This may be a useful approach to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Homa Zahedi, MSc is a Senior Lecturer in occupational therapy and practice placements lead at London South Bank University.
Sarah-Jayne Rowe, MRes is a Senior Lecturer in occupational therapy and practice placements facilitator at London South Bank University.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declaration of interest
Zahedi, H., & Rowe, S. (2021). Evaluation of an On-Campus Program Bridging the Theory-Practice Gap in Occupational Therapy Education: Student Perspective. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 5 (3). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2021.050301
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