Philosophy of Learning

Western Michigan University's
Department of Occupational Therapy

Mission Statement:
The occupational therapy program's mission is to develop and prepare occupational therapists to deliver high standards of health care to a diverse population in a changing environment through education, research, and leadership. (Nov. 1997)

Dept. Belief Statements about the Educational Process
Educational experiences should be developmental and individualized.
Educational experiences should be experiential, life-centered, and relevant to the learner.
Educational experiences should move the student toward self-directed learning.
Life experience of learners should be valued as an educational resource.
Learning should be driven primarily by internal motivators rather than external motivators. (Dec. 1995)

    Knowles, Holton, and Swanson (1998) have done extensive research on adult learning theory and published on how to facilitate effective adult learning.  One of their conclusions is that we must alter the traditional faculty/student relationship.  They state that the role of the university faculty is to provide opportunities for students to become active learners.  Faculty do that by creating powerful learning environments for students to gain knowledge, rather than trying to transfer faculty members' knowledge to students through lectures.

According to Knowles, Holton, and Swanson (1998),
    The most effective learning occurs when


    When learners are active in the learning process, they

    The faculty member's role in facilitating learning is to:


    Knowles, M., Holton, E., & Swanson, R. (1998).  The adult learner:  The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development (5th ed.).  Houston, TX:  Gulf Publishing Co.