3D printing applications through peer-assisted learning and interprofessional education approaches





interprofessional education, 3D printing, peer-assisted learning, occupational therapy


Introduction: Although 3D printing offers customised assistive technology devices at relatively low costs to address the access needs of individuals with disabilities, implementation barriers exist to achieve widespread technology adoption. To improve 3D technology acceptance and to better prepare future clinicians, peer-assisted learning (PAL) was undertaken between occupational therapy (OT) students and students with expertise in 3D printing to work to address real-life patient functional problems.

Methods: 3D printing technology acceptance was measured between cohorts of OT students (Cohort Year 2020, n = 31; Cohort Year 2021, n = 32) without and with PAL integration approaches, respectively, at the conclusion of the 15-week term at project completion.

Results: After the structured interprofessional PAL modules, Cohort Year 2021 improved in perception of Usefulness (p = 0.023) as compared to Cohort Year 2020, while the Ease of Use (p = 0.095), Attitude Toward Using (p = 0.313) and Intention to Use (p = 0.271) categories did not significantly differ between cohort years.

Conclusions: PAL modules may improve perceptions of 3D printing Usefulness among OT students, however Ease of Use should continue to be explored as both 2020 and 2021 cohort average perceptions were neutral related to 3D printing technology. Identifying ideal training and mentoring approaches may alleviate the Ease of Use barriers to integration of this technology within both the classroom and practice settings and benefit patients.

Author Biography

Sara Eickman Benham, Moravian University

Sara Benham is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy in the Rehabilitation Sciences Department at Moravian University. She has worked for over 15 years as an Occupational Therapist in inpatient rehabilitation, currently at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation in Allentown, PA. Her specialization is in assistive technology and she holds an advanced certification as an Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). Sara directs her research in pursuit of how technology may enable clients to increase participation in meaningful occupations. She has peer-reviewed publications on a variety of technological enhancements for performance across the lifespan, including telerehabilitation, virtual reality, electronic tablet technologies, aids for community mobility, 3D printing, and has published a textbook chapter on applications of technology for pediatrics. Sara has presented her work nationally and at the state level. In regards to leadership, Sara serves as the Technology Coordinator for the American Association of Occupational Therapy (AOTA) Rehabilitation & Disability Special Interest Section (SIS), as a reviewer for the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, and serves on the Executive Committee for the Technology in Rehabilitation Networking Group of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM).


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How to Cite

Benham, S. E., Bush, J., & Curley, B. . (2022). 3D printing applications through peer-assisted learning and interprofessional education approaches. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-Professional Journal, 23(3), 81–95. https://doi.org/10.11157/fohpe.v23i3.591



Interprofessional Education