Date of Conferral







Deanne Otto


Students who are not engaged in the classroom become clinicians who are not successful in clinicals and entry-level work. This prompted occupational therapy (OT) educators to explore active teaching and learning strategies that have proven successful in various professional programs. This study explored OT instructors’ perceptions and experiences of case-based learning (CBL). This single case, qualitative study utilized content and thematic analysis to analyze interviews, brainstorming activities, and reflective journals from eight participants. Participants were OT professors who utilized CBL strategies. First and second cycle coding was used to categorize data then codes were reviewed for emerging themes. Content analysis was used to analyze the supporting documents. Six common themes emerged from the interviews and were supported and reinforced by the brainstorming activity and reflective journal entry. The themes were: (a) the role of life experience in student engagement; (b) CBL’s resemblance to OT practice and its real-life context; (c) CBL is a natural way to learn and teach clinical skills; (d) CBL is effective in engaging students whenever and however presented; (e) students appreciate CBL strategies; and (f) although professors used other active learning techniques, CBL was used more often and was felt to be more effective. All themes supported the use of CBL to increase student engagement and participation in OT classrooms. The results of this study may promote positive social change by helping instructors prepare students to become effective therapists. Better educational preparation can lead to positive social change as effective OT interventions ultimately lead to better client care that positively impacts clients’ health, function, and well-being.