Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Debra Byram


Problem-Based Learning


Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTA) need to be skilled in clinical reasoning and able to apply principles, theories and approaches to functional problems (Neistadt, 1998; Royeen,1995; VanLeit, Crowe and Waterman, 2001). Occupational therapy assistant educational standards require that students be able to apply models of occupational performance and theories of occupation (Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, 2008). Research has shown that learners actively engaged in the learning process have increased satisfaction with their education (Robinson, 1994) and perform better on exams (Lord, 1997; Wilden, Crowther, Gubanich and Cannon, 2002). Scaffa and Wooster (2004) found self directed learning can significantly facilitate the development of students' clinical reasoning skills. Case-based learning methods of instruction can be used to help meet the challenges that are experienced in occupational therapy assistant education while meeting the needs of adult learners.

Fink's taxonomy of significant learning provides a framework for developing questions that correspond with the various dimensions of clinical reasoning as described by Neistadt (1998) and Lysaght and Bent (2005). Case-based resources that address mental health topics across the lifespan and link knowledge of theory to practice have not been developed for occupational therapy assistant students. This product employs case-based learning which includes adult and active learning principles as an instructional strategy for OTA. Through the use of this product, students are able to apply knowledge of occupational behavior models and frames of references to mental health clinical conditions across the lifespan.