Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Michelle Suarez

Second Advisor

Dr. Ben Atchison

Third Advisor

Dr. Debra Lindstrom


Learning approaches, client-centered, fieldwork, occupational therapy, caregiver collaboration

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


As a profession, occupational therapists pride themselves on providing client-centered treatment. It is hypothesized that increased structured client collaboration as well as incorporating reflective journaling in the fieldwork setting (to meet the students at their level of learning) will improve student's critical thinking skills, and encourage them to seek deeper learning techniques to ensure they are providing 'best practice' occupational therapy for the client and his/her family. In this pilot study, the learning approaches of students in two existing University-based clinic programs were measured over the course of one semester. The treatment group was required to participate in structured, intentional caregiver collaboration and wrote weekly reflective journals as a part of the planned coursework, while the control group had no reflective journaling and experienced unstructured caregiver collaboration. This study also addressed if the Revised Study Process Questionnaire 2F (RSPQ-2F) is a sensitive tool to measure changes in learning approaches over one semester (Biggs, Kember, & Leung, 2001). The results indicate that the students reverted to surface learning strategies when stressed to manipulate learned information in a supervised and structured clinical setting. Additional research is required to determine if results are consistent over larger sample sizes, control for external and internal variables, and measure long-term effects.