L.E.A.P. for occupational therapy: learning to engage in advocacy participation
McKinnon, Sarah Michelle
MetadataShow full item record
Advocacy is a foundational skill that contributes to professional development and enhances the mission of occupational therapy (McKinnon, 2015; Jacobs, 2012). Despite the requirement of the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) for advocacy education, students report minimal understanding of advocacy, lack of understanding to the connection to practice, and minimal tools and resources to support advocacy and political action strategies during school (Lyons et al., 2015; Restall & Ripat, 2008). Without advocacy education for students, there will be less involvement in the promotion of the occupational therapy thus decreasing strength and expansion of services for the profession and the populations we serve and making it a focus of this doctoral project. L.E.A.P. or Learning to Engage in Advocacy Participation, is a theory and evidence-based on-line learning educational platform designed to address the gap in knowledge and skills for advocacy participation for occupational therapy (OT) and occupational therapy assistant (OTA) students. The self-guided interactive platform is accessible and available free-of-charge at www.OTadvocacy.com. L.E.A.P. describes the distinct value of advocacy participation. Unique characteristics of the platform include the choice of learning materials which provides participants the opportunity to access resources to support their own learning styles and an opportunity to apply concepts to participant’s interest at the end of each module, achieving a greater connection between new knowledge and one’s own context. The content and construct of the three modules L.E.A.P. are based on recommendations following a thorough literature review which identified meaningful frameworks that guide adult learners, elicit communication related to advocacy, and support constructs of online education. These theories include: Adult Learning Theory (Knowles et al., 2011), Situational Theory of Publics (Grunig, 1997), and the Community of Inquiry framework (Garrison et al., 2010). Understanding the value of advocacy, knowledge of priorities and skill development for advocacy in occupational therapy contributes to disseminating the distinct value of occupational therapy to stakeholders. Therefore, advocacy has significant value on strengthening the occupational therapy profession and influencing change at the national and international levels and L.E.A.P. provides an opportunity to enhance these skills for students and clinicians.