Student perceptions of the learning environment in Norwegian occupational therapy education programs
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Background To support students’ motivation towards constructive and persistent study efforts, their learning environment needs attention. Aim To develop knowledge about occupational therapy students’ perceptions of the learning environment and assess whether identified differences between education programs were stable or changed across the 3 years of study. Methods Norwegian occupational therapy students completed the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) while in their first, second, and third years of study. Differences between programs were analysed with multivariate and univariate analysis of variance. Results Among the first-year students, perceptions of the learning environment differed significantly between the six programs on five out of six scales. Apart from a continued difference on overall study satisfaction, the initial differences were no longer significant 1 year later. Differences on three scales (emphasis on independence, appropriate workload, and generic skills) were present in the third year of study. Conclusions and significance Students’ perceptions of the learning environment became more similar over time, during the first 2 years of study, possibly reflecting that the students have become more accustomed to the student role and to the culture and requirements of the education programs. However, differences between study sites re-occurring in the third year suggest that group-based comparisons of learning environment perceptions across time may be inconclusive.