Original Research

Speech therapy students’ perceptions of authentic video cases in a theory module on child language disorders

Helena Oosthuizen
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 66, No 1 | a602 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v66i1.602 | © 2019 Helena Oosthuizen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 June 2018 | Published: 22 January 2019

About the author(s)

Helena Oosthuizen, Division of Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Background: Undergraduate speech-language therapy students often find it difficult to see the relevance of theoretical module content, which may negatively influence their motivation to learn. The real world of their future profession can be brought to life in the theory classroom by including authentic case study examples. Video case studies are well suited to illustrating communication disorders and may also be easier to remember and relate to information already in the long-term memory.

Objectives: This article describes the perceptions of undergraduate students regarding the inclusion of authentic video cases in a theoretical module on developmental communication disorders.

Methods: A qualitative, interpretivist research design was followed. Focus-group interviews were conducted with 22 second-year students in the programme B Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy. A modified contextualised content analysis approach was used to analyse interview data.

Results: The use of authentic video cases was perceived positively by participants. Seeing a realistic example of a person with communication difficulties made it easier to understand, remember and engage with the module content. Participants also felt they could more easily imagine themselves in that clinical context, which seemed to (re-) awaken in them a sense of purpose and motivation. Being presented with real-life communication problems made them realise the relevance of their profession. However, participants experienced cognitive overload at times when the processing requirements of a task exceeded their available cognitive capacity.

Conclusion: Video cases are valuable tools to enhance students’ engagement with theoretical content. To avoid cognitive overload, a scaffolded multimedia learning experience needs to be provided.


Speech-language therapy; video; case study; South Africa


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Crossref Citations

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