Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


Advocacy for clients and the profession are important aspects of occupational therapy practice. Accreditation requirements for educational programs demand students are taught about advocacy. However, effective methods of teaching advocacy to future occupational therapy practitioners have not been widely studied. This article aims to highlight the use of situated cognition and self-directed learning in developing advocacy skills among occupational therapy students. Pre and post-test scores of the Advocacy Competencies Self-Assessment Survey obtained from 39 students were examined for changes in perception of personal advocacy skills and beliefs associated with a required advocacy course. Statistically significant improvement was noted across all items and domains. To facilitate this change, students applied the principles of situated cognition to a project in which they advocated for a real issue important to the profession of occupational therapy. Students also applied the principles of self-directed learning as they worked through the advocacy process toward anticipated outcomes. Situated cognition and self-directed learning theories support authentic learning and transformation around advocacy.


Kate Eglseder, ScD, OTR/L, CLT is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science at Towson University. Dr. Eglseder has 23 years of experience in physical rehabilitation and 20 years of experience in occupational therapy education. Dr. Eglseder’s research is varied and includes student achievement, sexuality and disability including client and partner needs, as well as training and educational needs of the healthcare provider.

Sonia Lawson, PhD, OTR/L is an occupational therapist who earned her doctoral degree in Human Development focusing her studies on educational psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is an Associate Professor at Towson University. Her research interests are varied and include achievement motivation of patients and students, caregivers of persons with various disabilities, and stroke.

Reanna Beatty, OTS is a doctoral level occupational therapy student at Towson University. In addition to her coursework, Ms. Beatty is a research assistant for three faculty members.

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.