Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


This manuscript describes how one entry-level occupational therapy doctoral (OTD) program used an innovative approach to scaffolding assignments through a cognitive apprenticeship (CA) framework. Cognitive apprenticeship strategies include learning in the context or culture of the profession. This is achieved through observation, coaching, engagement, and discovery of strategies by the instructor. This framework was implemented to facilitate the learning of occupational, activity, and task (OAT) analyses through a four-week module within a first-semester foundations course. Cognitive apprenticeship constructs were used as instructional teaching strategies including active learning, group facilitated assignments, hands on observation, and immediate feedback and modeling of professional reasoning by the instructor. The assessment of findings supporting the effectiveness of the use of CA to implement this module included a mixed methods approach. A quantitative analysis of pre- and post-test surveys measuring confidence levels related to entry-level occupational therapy practice skills demonstrated that each survey item was statistically significant for increased confidence. A qualitative analysis of open-ended questions identified themes related to teaching strategies and the development of a foundational occupational therapy identity. The aim of this project is to expand the use of similar evidence-based applications for CA to progress student professional reasoning and occupational therapy practice skills while also supporting development of an emerging professional identity. This manuscript makes a substantive contribution to the teaching and application of analyses within OT education and the use of professional terminology, particularly the foundational understanding of the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework-IV and how it is applied in practice. The module demonstrated successful scaffolding of concepts built across several weeks. Cognitive apprenticeship constructs facilitated students' progression from novice to competent problem solvers within an OT context, which positively impacted the reported confidence of associated entry-level skills.


Anna Baird-Galloway, OTD, MOT, OTR/L, MT-BC is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Florida. She has clinical expertise in psychosocial and acute care settings. She has teaching expertise with OT theory, psychosocial, and rehabilitation courses. She serves as the lead faculty for the OT Equal Access Clinic.

Truly McClellan Hardemon, MEd is an instructional designer at the University of Florida. She has over ten (10) years of experience in instructional design and educational technology. She serves as the lead instructional designer for the college where she works.

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.