Volume 12 (1) 2020 – Article (first published on 6 April 2018)
Do Problem-Based Learning approaches provide effective educational interventions for music therapy training courses? Experiences from an action research project at the University of South Wales
Sally Holden, Elizabeth Coombes & Kathy Evans
A Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach was piloted across the Master’s in Music Therapy programme at the University of South Wales. The main aim of the project was to explore whether the development of music therapy students’ practical and clinical reasoning skills could be enhanced by using a PBL approach during training. Case scenarios integrating many aspects of required learning covering key curriculum areas were developed and used in PBL sessions with each year group. The sessions were facilitated by a trained PBL facilitator and observed by the course leader. Students completed a pre- and post-PBL survey, giving information about their confidence in several areas of clinical reasoning. Feedback was also gathered on their views on the PBL approach and effects on their learning experience. Results show that engaging with the PBL process had a positive effect on students’ clinical reasoning confidence, and that students valued the experience.
Problem-Based Learning, clinical reasoning skills, music therapy training, research
Sally Holden, MA, FHEA, BSc. Sally is a registered music therapist and was one of the first graduates from the MA Music Therapy course at the University of South Wales. With a background in medical education, eLearning and PBL, she worked with academic staff at the University of South Wales to deliver this project, which formed the basis of her final year’s MA music therapy dissertation. Sally works in several settings, including dementia care and with children living with the effects of trauma.
Elizabeth Coombes, MA, FHEA, BMus. Elizabeth is a registered music therapist (HCPC), university lecturer and musician. She is also the course leader of the MA Music Therapy course at the University of South Wales, Newport. Since qualifying in 2000, Elizabeth has specialised in working with children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. She uses psychodynamic thinking to underpin her work, and also utilises her considerable experience in community music-making. She has worked on skill-sharing therapeutic music projects in the West Bank since 2009, and also in the UK. She has a particular interest in how sharing these skills with non-musicians such as teachers, social workers and carers can enrich their professional practice. She has a practice in palliative care and is an advanced GIM student.
Dr Kathy Evans, BEd, MA, MEd, PhD. Kathy was a teacher and manager for 15 years in both mainstream and specialist settings. Her doctorate was a cross-national study of the educational inclusion of pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Since 2010 she has been a senior lecturer at the University of South Wales, where she runs the MA Child and Adolescent Mental Health course.