SLT students' learning experiences within two placement models.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: An increasing demand on the number of clinical placements available within Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) has led to increased usage of alternative placement models. To date, no studies have been undertaken within SLT to explore students' learning experiences within these placement models. Aims: To investigate student Speech and Language Therapists' learning experiences with the 1:1 and 2:1 placement models. Methods & Procedures: A two stage survey was undertaken. Purposive sampling was used to recruit the sample; 17/21 year 4 SLT students completed a questionnaire developed by the researcher. From this sample, five participants, with a range of learning styles, were invited to attend a focus group to expand on topics addressed in the questionnaire. Questionnaire data subject to statistical analysis via SPSS and also hand coded to identify themes. Focus group data was audio recorded and transcribed verbatim; data was then hand coded using themed analysis. Outcomes & Results: Within the questionnaire, individual placements scored more highly than paired concerning learning experiences within two questions of the 'outward directed' learning outcome. Participants identified advantages and disadvantages concerning the learning experiences within both the 1:1 and 2:1 placement models but findings indicated that each model offered some unique learning experiences: the 1:1 provided significant opportunities for discussion and developing assertiveness while the 2:1 models provided peer support and reflection. Conclusions: Findings suggest that the 1:1 and 2:1 placement models offer a range of learning experiences to SLT students. Information regarding the pairing process is required to keep students informed while it is important that students' views be considered by Higher Education Institutes to ensure that placement models offer students the best possible practice based training.
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