Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction


Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Germaine-McCarthy, Yvelyne

Second Advisor

Gifford, Charles

Third Advisor

Del Favero,Marietta

Fourth Advisor

Bedford, April


Case-based learning (CBL) is commonly used in physical therapy curricula even though not much evidence exists as to the effectiveness of this instructional tool in physical therapy education. Through qualitative evaluation methodology, the researcher investigated the utilization and implementation of this instructional methodology in selected physical therapy curricula, as well as its perceived effectiveness by physical therapy students, faculty, and administrators. Data collection was performed through classroom observations, interviews,and focus group interviews at eight physical therapy programs across the United States that identified themselves as moderate to high implementers of CBL. Through the analysis of the qualitative data gleaned from the participants, case-based learning was found to be a very effective instructional methodology in these academic programs as described by administrators, faculty, and students alike. Specifically, case-based learning was found to effectively enhance students' learning, problem solving skills, clinical preparedness, and confidence levels. Barriers that may limit the effectiveness of the implementation and utilization of case-based learning were discussed, including stakeholder buy-in, time and cost requirements, an individual knowledge and skill with case-based learning techniques. Multiple factors were found to exist that positively influence the effectiveness of the implementation and utilization of case-based learning including techniques that make the learning experience safe, real, impactful, and empowering.


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