Occupational Therapy students reap benefits of team learning
The Occupational Therapy (OT) program in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy has moved from a professional undergraduate program delivered through a variety of teaching models such as didactic learning, group work and experiential learning to a professional Master of Science degree program centered on team-based learning. The comprehensive shift in curricula and pedagogy began in 2004.
The OT Program takes pride in its extensive consultation history with the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL). Faculty members in OT have consistently drawn on the centre’s resources and workshops since its inception in 1992, especially when shifting to a team-based learning model.
“It’s been very helpful to have CTL staff help guide and advise us during this transition,” says Margaret Jamieson, the current chair of the OT program. “Their expertise and willingness to engage in individual consultation have strengthened the learning opportunities available for our students.”
Students now move through the two-year program in teams, usually made up of six members. They work together on many group assignments in their courses, evaluate the process of working together, and discuss and learn to resolve conflict. The students also have to adapt to working with new colleagues when, halfway into the program, they are grouped into new teams and take on different roles as team members.
Faculty members in OT find that the team-based model gives students a strong support mechanism during their studies: each other. They also find the model helps prepare students for the increasingly interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the health-care practice, and for learning about the value of one another as colleagues.