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Clin Linguist Phon. 2014 Jan-Feb;28(1-2):60-71. doi: 10.3109/02699206.2013.808703. Epub 2013 Jul 9.

Students' perceptions of using Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in teaching cognitive communicative disorders.

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  • Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Central Florida , Orlando, FL , USA.


Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is an educational model that is characterized by student-centered learning and classroom discussion using clinically based problems. This study examines students' perceptions of PBL as an alternative approach of learning in speech-language pathology and investigates if these perceptions change over time as a function of students' learning experience with PBL. Written reflections by 96 graduate-students in a graduate elective course on cognitive-communicative disorders were analyzed using content analysis. Common words or phrases in each reflection paper were identified, grouped and coded into consistent themes. Percentage changes of these themes across a semester were also followed. A total number of 883 positive and 165 negative comments were identified. Thirteen positive and seven negative themes relative to students' perception of the inclusion of PBL were yielded. The advantages of PBL were found to outweigh its disadvantages. Moreover, accumulated experience with this approach was found to eliminate some initial perceived drawbacks about PBL. The extra efforts to engage students in interactive discussion as well as higher order critical thinking and knowledge application were acknowledged through student feedback. Future studies should investigate how PBL can be of greater use in other areas in communication sciences and disorders.

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