Facilitating practical knowledge using flexible forms of learning in the education of Occupational Therapists in Palestine : An action research approach performed in cooperation with teachers in the Occupational Therapist program at Bethlehem University
Practical knowledge is essential knowledge in occupational therapy. It is a situated and experienced knowledge, a knowing how and from within the situation. This knowledge has been difficult to facilitate in the learning process of a group of Occupational Therapist students in Gaza. Travel restrictions and the unstable political situation separated teachers and students. Lack of clinical occupational therapists inside Gaza also had a major impact. Educational technology such as videoconferences, internet and films became new and necessary tools. This article is based on results from an action research project following the process of using flexible forms of learning and developing an internet based learning programme named Ergonet and the learning process of the students using it, aiming at answering the following research questions: 1. How do the teachers experience the teaching process of facilitating practical knowledge? 2. How can an internet support program be developed to facilitate practical knowledge in OT education? 3. How do the teachers evaluate the outcome of implementing flexible forms of learning, regarding to the students practical skills? Pedagogical challenges in facilitating practical knowledge to occupational therapy students in a Palestinian culture had an impact on the way flexible forms of learning were developed and used. Experiences from using tools such as videoconferences, the internet, educational films and evaluation films impacted on the way the internet learning programme was developed. Ergonet contains an occupational therapy knowledgebase and clinical films presenting experienced masters doing assessments and therapy with clients. The films are presented and analysed in small sequences followed by written text, photo, articles and web-sites. Our pedagogical intention has been to develop a creative learning platform enhancing more active and deeper learning strategies among the students. The results indicate how rote-learning and lack of reflective and critical thinking have been challenged and changed by the didactic way Ergonet was used.
An action research approach performed in cooperation with teachers in the Occupational Therapist program at Bethlehem University.
SerieEureka Digital 3, 2009
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