Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
O'Toole, C;
28th World Congress of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP)
Moving from traditional teaching to Problem Based Learning: Effects on the Learning Styles of Speech and Language Therapy Students
Athens, Greece
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields


The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at University College, Cork was established in 2003 using a PBL-centered curriculum. Problem Based Learning (PBL) PBL is a method of integrated, student-centered learning where the goal of learning is to be able to apply knowledge to solve real-life problems efficiently. PBL is thought to promote team working and social interaction thereby facilitating the development of skills needed for clinical practice. Students enter the course having come from traditional, didactic teaching and learning environments and sometimes find it difficult to adjust to being self-directed learners and working in groups. In 2006, we began studying the learning styles of our students when they entered the course, using a self-completed questionnaire. Over the subsequent three years, students complete the questionnaire on five occasions. We analyzed the data to establish whether the profiles changed over time, particularly into the clinical years where students have to apply theoretical knowledge in treating individuals with communication disorders. Our analysis identified that students became significantly more `active¿ in their learning styles after three years of PBL-based education, although as a group remained largely `reflective¿. We also investigated the association between grades in the various courses taken by the students and their learning styles, and noted a slightly negative correlation between `theoretical¿ learners and their results in practical subjects such as linguistics, research methods and practice education. The findings will be discussed in relation to speech and language therapy education and the importance of tailoring educational contexts to meet the needs of individual learning styles.