Speech pathology students’ perceived learning outcomes following participation in a fluency booster program





clinical education, speech pathology, students, stuttering, fluency disorders


Introduction: Intensive fluency programs are a service delivery option for adults and adolescents who stutter and can act as clinical education opportunities for speech pathology students. Previous research established that student participation in a five day intensive fluency program resulted in increased student confidence, knowledge and interest while decreasing student anxiety. Though effective, this service delivery model is time and resource intensive for students and clients alike. The aim of this study was to investigate students’ levels of confidence, knowledge, interest and anxiety pre- and post-participation in a shorter, two day intensive fluency booster program.

Methods: Participants in this study were speech pathology students at an XXXX university. This mixed methods study used pre- and post-program Likert scale surveys to explore students’ perceptions of their learning. In addition, students’ general perceptions of the program were examined through responses to open-ended questions. Quantitative results were analysed using the Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test and results of the qualitative data were analysed using content analysis.

Results: Data was obtained from 68 students. Statistically significant changes (p<.001) were observed on all surveyed items of confidence, knowledge, interest and anxiety. In their responses to open-ended questions, students reported that the booster program was well-structured, offered supported learning opportunities and a valued means to interact with clients who stutter. Recommendations for program improvements were noted.  

Conclusion: Results from this study indicate that a two day fluency booster program may be an appropriate clinical learning opportunity for speech pathology students.

Author Biographies

Adriana Marie Penman, The University of Queensland

Adriana Penman is a Lecturer in Speech Pathology at The University of Queensland. Adriana is currently enrolled in a PhD investigating the use of simulation to prepare students for clinical practice. She is an active researcher in stuttering across the lifespan and within the realm of teaching and student learning practices.

Nicola Brown, The University of Queensland

Nicola Brown is a recent graduate speech pathologist from The University of Queensland. Nicola was involved in this study as part of her research Honours program in her final year of the speech pathology program.

Anne Elizabeth Hill, The University of Queensland

Dr Anne Hill is a Senior Lecturer in Speech Pathology at The University of Queensland, Australia. She is an active researcher in teaching and learning practices and has a keen interest in the areas of simulation pedagogy, interprofessional education and students’ development of cultural responsiveness through their clinical practice.



Al-Sagarat, A. Y., Al-Saraireh, F., Masa'deh, R., & Moxham, L. (2015). The impact of a mental health clinical placement on the clinical confidence of nursing students in Jordan. Nurse Education Today, 35(6), 760–764. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2015.02.008

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioural change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191

Beilby, J. (2014). Psychosocial impact of living with a stuttering disorder: Knowing is not enough. Seminars in Speech and Language, 35(2), 132–143. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0034-1371756

Block, S., Onslow, M., Packman, A., Gray, B., & Dacakis, G. (2005). Treatment of chronic stuttering: Outcomes from a student training clinic. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 40(4), 455–466. https://doi.org/10.1080/03093640500088161

Blumgart, E., Tran, Y., & Craig, A. (2010). Social anxiety disorder in adults who stutter. Depression and Anxiety, 27(7), 687–692. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20657

Brown, L., Wilson, L., Packman, A., Halaki, M., Onslow, M., & Menzies, R. (2016). An investigation of the effects of a speech-restructuring treatment for stuttering on the distribution of intervals of phonation. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 50, 13–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2016.09.001

Brown, T., Cosgriff, T., & French, G. (2008). Learning style preferences of occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology students: A comparative study. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 6(3), 1–12.

Brumfitt, S., & Freeman, M. (2007). Speech and language therapy students' perceptions of learning in a university clinical setting. Learning in Health and Social Care, 6(4), 231–244. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-6861.2007.00160.x

Cardell, E., & Hill, A. (2013). Student-delivered intensive smooth speech programs for adolescents and adults who stutter. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 15(2), 54–59.

Crichton-Smith, I., Wright, J., & Stackhouse, J. (2003). Attitudes of speech and language therapists towards stammering: 1985 and 2000. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 38(3), 213–234.


Cocks, N., Harding, C., & Pritchard, M. (2014). The benefits of a 5-day dysphagia intensive placement. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16(5), 476–485. https://doi.org/10.3109/17549507.2013.826283

Craig, A., Blumgart, E., & Tran, Y. (2009). The impact of stuttering on the quality of life in adults who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 34(2), 61–71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2009.05.002

Craig, A., Hancock, K., Tran, Y., Craig, M., & Peters, K. (2002). Epidemiology of stuttering in the community across the entire life span. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 45(6), 1097–1105. https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2002/088)

Creswell, J. W., Clark, V. L. P., Gutmann, M. L., & Hanson, W. E. (2002). Advanced mixed methods research designs. In C. B. Teddlie & A. M. Tashakkori (Eds.), Handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioural research (pp. 209–240). Sage.

Flasch, P., Taylor, D., Clauber, R. N., & Robinson, E. (2017). Examining students' self-perceived competence and comfort in an experiential play therapy counseling course: A single group pretest-posttest investigation. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 11(1), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.20429/ijsotl.2017.110110

Graneheim, U. H., & Lundman, B. (2004). Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: Concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Education Today, 24(2), 105–112. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2003.10.001

Hatton, A. L., & Mandrusiak, A. (2018). A single clinical experience in a nursing home improves physiotherapy students' attitudes towards, and confidence to communicate with, older people. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 36(2–3), 168–178. https://doi.org/10.1080/02703181.2018.1449164

Health Workforce Australia (HWA). (2014). Australia’s health workforce series: Speech pathologists in focus. Author.

Irani, F., Gabel, R., Daniels, D., & Hughes, S. (2012). The long term effectiveness of intensive stuttering therapy: A mixed methods study. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 37, 164–178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2012.04.002

Kelly, E. M., Martin, J. S., Baker, K. E., Rivera, N. I., Bishop, J. E., Krizizke, C. B., Stettler, D. S., & Stealy, J. M. (1997). Academic and clinical preparation and practices of school speech-language pathologists with people who stutter. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 28(3), 195–212. https://doi.org/10.1044/0161-1461.2803.195

Klein, J. F., & Hood, S. B. (2004). The impact of stuttering on employment opportunities and job performance. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 29(4), 255–273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2004.08.001

Koutsodimitropoulos, E., Buultjens, M., St.Louis, K. O., & Monfries, M. (2016). Speech pathology student clinican attitudes and beliefs towards people who stutter: A mixed-method pilot study. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 47, 38–55.


Lee, K. (2014). Korean speech-language pathologists' attitudes toward stuttering according to clinical experiences. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 49(6), 771–779. https://doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12093

Mavis, I., St. Louis, K. O., Ozdemir, S., & Togram, B. (2013). Attitudes of Turkish speech and language therapists toward stuttering. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 38(2), 157–170. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2013.03.002

Menzies, R. G., Onslow, M., Packman, A., & O'Brian, S. (2009). Cognitive behaviour therapy for adults who stutter: A tutorial for speech-language pathologists. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 34(3), 187–200. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfludis.2009.09.002

Moscaritolo, L. M. (2009). Interventional strategies to decrease nursing student anxiety in the clinical learning environment. Journal of Nursing Education, 48(1), 17–23. https://doi.org/10.3928/01484834-20090101-08

O'Brien, L., Buxton, M., & Gillies, D. (2008). Improving the undergraduate clinical placement experience in mental health nursing. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 29(5), 505–522. https://doi.org/10.1080/01612840801981355

Onslow, M., Jones, M., Menzies, R., O'Brian, S., & Packman, A. (2012). Stuttering. In M. Hersen & P. Sturmey (Eds.), Handbook of evidence-based practice in clinical psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 185–208). Wiley.

Park, S., Theodoros, D., Finch, E., & Cardell, E. (2015). Be clear: A new intensive speech treatment for adults with nonprogressive dysarthria. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 25(1), 97–114. https://doi.org/10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0113

Pasupathy, R., & Bogschutz, R. J. (2013). An investigation of graduate speech-language pathology students' SLP clinical self-efficacy. Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders, 40, 151–159.

Porter, J., Morphet, J., Missen, K., & Raymond, A. (2013). Preparation for high-acuity clinical placement: Confidence levels of final-year nursing students. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 4, 83–89. https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S42157

Reeve, J., Skinner, M., Lee, A., Wilson, L., & Alison, J. A. (2012). Investigating factors influencing 4th-year physiotherapy students' opinions of cardiorespiratory physiotherapy as a career path. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 28(5), 391–401. https://doi.org/10.3109/09593985.2011.619249

Rodriguez, A. D., Worrall, L., Brown, K., Grohn, B., McKinnon, E., Pearson, C., Van Hees, S., Roxbury, T., Cornwell, P., MacDonald, A., Angwin, A., Cardell, E., Davidson, B., & Copland, D. A. (2013). Aphasia LIFT: Exploratory investigation of an intensive comprehensive aphasia programme. Aphasiology, 27(11), 1339–1361. https://doi.org/10.1080/02687038.2013.825759

Rose, M. L., Cherney, L. R., & Worrall, L. E. (2013). Intensive comprehensive aphasia programs: An international survey of practice. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 20(5), 379–387. https://doi.org/10.1310/tsr2005-379

Speech Pathology Australia (SPA). (2018). Clinical education in Australia: Building a profession for the future. Author.

Taylor, C., Angel, L., Nyanga, L., & Dickson, C. (2017). The process and challenges of obtaining and sustaining clinical placements for nursing and allied health students. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26, 3099–3110. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.13658

The Senate. (2014). Prevalence of different types of speech, language and communication disorders and speech pathology services in Australia. Parliament of Australia. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Speech_Pathology/Report




How to Cite

Penman, A. M., Brown, N., & Hill, A. E. (2020). Speech pathology students’ perceived learning outcomes following participation in a fluency booster program. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 21(2), 31–47. https://doi.org/10.11157/fohpe.v21i2.412