An exploration of speech and language pathology student and facilitator perspectives on problem-based learning online.

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O'Leary, Norma
Brouder. Niamh
Bessell, Nicola
Frizelle, Pauline
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Taylor & Francis
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This mixed-methods study explored the perspectives of second and third-year Speech Language Pathology (SLP) students and facilitators on Problem-Based Learning (PBL) online. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, PBL was delivered online for the academic year 2020-2021 via a virtual learning environment. Forty-seven students and five facilitators completed an online survey designed to evaluate the quality of individual and collaborative learning in the PBL online context. All participants had experience of pre-COVID-19 face-to-face PBL. Thematic analysis and descriptive statistics were used to analyse qualitative and quantitative data, respectively. Demonstrated a preference from both students and facilitators to maintain PBL in a face-to-face format. Aspects of functionality offered by the virtual platform assisted in the PBL process, however technical and environmental barriers impeded virtual delivery. Responses suggest that the development of rapport and interactivity levels online are not equivalent to face-to-face PBL, and these factors were perceived by participants to negatively influence the learning process. Perspectives on the role of the facilitator online convey divergent views between second and third years which reflected a change in facilitator style to support more independent learning in line with students' progression through the course. Our findings demonstrate that students and facilitators are open to future implementation of a blended model of PBL. Participants reported benefits such as reduction in indirect education costs and acquisition of a digital skillset. However, our study indicates a preference for enhanced social presence afforded by face-to-face PBL.
Problem-based learning , Online learning , Online problem-based learning , Blended learning , Speech pathology , COVID-19
O’ Leary, N., Brouder, N., Bessell, N. and Frizelle, P. (2022) ‘An exploration of speech and language pathology student and facilitator perspectives on problem-based learning online’, Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, (19 pp). doi: 10.1080/02699206.2022.2061377.