Occupational therapists work with just about every human condition you can think of. Their clientele is diverse, but are their professional teaching methods suited to a diverse population? This question is the subject of a new article from the United States.
The article reports on a survey of occupational therapy (OT) educators. They found that while most respondents knew about Universal Design for Learning (UDL), less than half could define it.
The article discusses how the respondents fared with the three tenets of UDL: multiple means of engagement, representation, and expression. They found that OT assistant education used some UDL techniques such as games, feedback and incentives. These strategies were not evident at higher education levels.
OT educators focus is on ensuring all content is delivered. That’s because the content covers such a broad spectrum and is subject to accreditation standards. However, the American Occupational Therapy Association has identified research priorities to find teaching methods that maximise learning for practitioners.
The authors sum up that with the recent pandemic the “need for a greater understanding and implementation of UDL tenets is more important than ever.” It will ensure today’s students become competent practitioners.
The title of the article is, Implementation of UDL in Occupational Therapy Education. It is open access.
Abstract: This exploratory research surveyed educators’ use of universal design for learning (UDL) in occupational therapy education. Most common methods of engagement were displaying enthusiasm, providing examples, and offering learner feedback; representation was primarily offered through class discussion, lab experiences, and images; methods of action or expression were most frequently class discussion, projects, practicums and tests. The type of program, years of educators’ clinical experience and faculty rank influenced some factors of UDL implementation. Further use of UDL principles that could facilitate improved learning outcomes of diverse learners within occupational therapy education is discussed.
A short article by Bethan Collins looks at both sides of UDL – for OTs and for clients.