Evaluating the Professional Transformation from a Doctoral Capstone Experience
Keywords:doctoral capstone, transformative learning, SoTL, occupational therapy
Transformational learning is a familiar framework that is used to guide student learning and development, but is not frequently studied in allied health education programs. A scholarly capstone is a common academic requirement among various allied health doctoral-level programs and is traditionally defined as an immersive experiential learning experience, along with a scholarly project via mentorship. Due to the inherent nature of the capstone process, the student is required to engage in self-reflection, self-examination, and exhibit self-directedness. Faculty in allied health programs can benefit from using transformative learning as a theoretical framework for designing and evaluating these experiential learning endeavours.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to measure the personal and professional transformation of occupational therapy students following a doctoral capstone experience (DCE), a required 14-week experience in entry-level occupational therapy doctorate programs. Data was collected via pre and post-DCE interviews and journal entries which mirrored Mezirow’s stages of transformational learning.
This study provides insight to faculty regarding the importance of self-reflection to impact personal and professional growth in allied health doctoral students.
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